“No fault with gates in tiger paddock”, expert tells the inquest

Hamerton Zoo. Picture: GOOGLE

Hamerton Zoo. Picture: GOOGLE - Credit: Archant

Jurors in the inquest of Rosa King – who died after being mauled by a tiger at Hamerton Zoo – have heard from an expert today, who said that there was no fault with the tiger paddock.

Sergeant James Thorne, a serious collision officer for Cambridgeshire police, visited the scene two days after the incident to assess the security of the gates.

Sgt Thorne told the inquest he visited the park on June 1, 2017, and used a piece of equipment, which he described as a "laser scanning device" to assess the area and see if there were any mechanical faults.

Corner Nicholas Moss has previously told the jury about the system of gates, known as slides, which are designed to allow staff to monitor the movement of tigers and ensure that keepers never entered an area where there is an animal.

Sgt Thomas explained that there were several steel sliding gates that were operated mechanically by metal wires and pulleys.


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He explained he "could not see any obstructions" that would stop a keeper being able to see when the gate was closed and open.

"I could not see any obstructions. No slacking in the wires that I could see. Nothing was in the way and they were free to operate without any hindrance. Everything was in good stead.

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"During my time at the enclosure, I watched a number of different staff show me how to get in and out of the enclosure. At no point did I see that the pulley system, counter weights or sliders weren't functioning."

Coroner Nicholas Moss then went on to ask "did you detect any mechanical failure in the system?"

Sgt Thorne replied "no".

Rosa, 33, died from "traumatic injuries" on the morning of May 29, 2017, after a Malayan tiger attacked her in a paddock while she was cleaning the windows of a visitor viewing area. A post-mortem examination, read out at the inquest, revealed she suffered multiple lacerations, abrasions and puncture wounds to her neck and right arm and her cervical spine was severed after she was mauled by the male tiger called Cicip.

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