No prosecutions after woman mauled to death by dogs in Surrey
No prosecutions will be brought over a dog walker mauled to death at a Surrey beauty spot, police have said.
Surrey Police confirmed on Wednesday that its criminal investigation is now closed following the 28-year-old's death at Gravelly Hill, near Caterham, on Jan 12.
The unnamed woman, from London, was set upon and killed by the dogs she was walking during a frenzied attack in the North Downs Way, a bridle path and viewpoint bordering the M25.
The Telegraph can reveal that an inquest is due to open with the Surrey coroner on Tuesday.
Eight dogs were seized at the scene and remain in custody, with forensic analysis still ongoing. Police said on Thursday that no prosecutions will be brought against individuals.
The force confirmed that none of the dogs are banned breeds, with two Dachshunds understood to be among them along with an 11-stone Leonberger, which previously appeared on a BBC television show about problem puppies.
A source close to the investigation told this newspaper that no date is in sight for release of the dogs to their owners.
“We won't be releasing the dogs until the specialist forensic work is complete,” the source said.
“It's a really complex case, it's pretty much unprecedented and there have been a lot of challenges with it if I'm honest, it's just one of those really unusual ones.”
Detective Inspector Josephine Horner said: “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 bearing with us whilst we conducted our enquiries.
“The criminal investigation has now concluded and the information we have gathered will be passed to the Surrey Coroner to assist in the coronial process.
“The dogs continue to be cared for at private kennels to ensure their welfare and their owners are being kept informed.
“We appreciate this is a difficult and uncertain process for them as the forensic work continues.”
Witnesses described previously how the dog walker tried to fight off the dogs and is understood to have screamed at two horsewomen who stumbled on the scene to “go back”. It is unclear how many dogs the victim was walking.
Another woman who suffered dog bites in the confusion was later discharged from hospital.
The number of injuries from dog bites has been increasing in recent years. Between 1998 and 2018, hospital admissions for dog-related injuries doubled in England, about 8,000 each year.
The fatal attack has prompted concern about contradictory regulations covering the sector, with councils setting different limits on dogs that can be walked by one person, often between four and six.