The police have confirmed that no criminal charges will be filed in relation to the death of a dog walker in Gravelly Hill, Caterham, Surrey, early in 2023.
According to the coroner, Simon Wickens, the deceased walker, Natasha Johnston, 28, from the Croydon area, died from “shock and haemorrhage due to multiple penetrating dog bites to her neck.” A full inquest into Ms Johnston’s death is scheduled for June 29.
The police seized eight dogs as part of their investigation. None of the dogs were banned breeds and included two dachshunds and a Leonberger. The owners have been identified, and the dogs have been cared for at private kennels during the ongoing police investigation.
Detective Inspector Josephine Horner of Surrey Police expressed her condolences, stating, “This is a tragic incident in which a young woman lost her life. I know it has caused real concern locally, and I thank the community for their cooperation throughout our inquiries. The criminal investigation has now concluded, and we will be providing the information we have gathered to the Surrey Coroner to aid in the coronial process.”
Members of Tandridge District Council’s community services committee expressed sympathy for the woman’s family and friends, without commenting on the specifics of her death.
Committee chairwoman Jackie Wren mentioned that the existing policy for dog walkers allows a maximum of six dogs and requires registration with a national body, such as the National Association of Dog Walkers. Additionally, dog walkers are expected to adhere to a code of conduct.
Local councillor David Lee called for a report to be prepared after the conclusion of the police investigation, addressing measures the council could take to ensure the safety of businesses engaged in dog walking and the general public. The report should explore options such as limiting the number of dogs allowed to be walked, considering restrictions on dog sizes, and implementing a communication campaign.