Woman killed in dog attack was walking number of dogs, police say

A woman who died after a dog attack at a Surrey beauty spot on Thursday was walking a number of dogs when she was attacked, police have said.

Paramedics were unable to save the 28-year-old from London after she was attacked by a dog at Gravelly Hill, Caterham.

Specialist officers are supporting her next of kin.

Surrey Police detained a total of eight dogs at the scene and detectives are keeping their owners up to date with the investigation.

The force added that forensic work would continue at the scene on Friday.

No arrests have been made.

Inspector Lyndsey Whatley, borough commander for Tandridge, said: “This is a tragic incident where a young woman has sadly lost her life and our thoughts are with her family and friends.

“I know that yesterday’s events will be of real concern to the local community and I would like to reassure residents that we are confident all the dogs involved are in the custody of police whilst we investigate the circumstances of what has happened.

“Officers will remain in the area of Gravelly Hill today whilst enquiries continue and if you have any information but have not yet spoken to police then please contact us.”

Roads surrounding the scene at Gravelly Hill remained blocked by police cordons on Friday afternoon, with only residents of the leafy countryside area being allowed in and out.

Three red incident support vans belonging to Specialist Group International were seen entering the cordon at 10.54am and woodland paths by the scene were also blocked off.

Richard Bream, who runs the nearby Mardens Kennels, told the PA News Agency he had never heard of a dog attack in the area before.

He said: “That particular area, View Point, is an area where professional dog walkers will turn up in their van and take the dogs out and walk them.

“I’ve always felt you see some of these dog walkers have five or six, and they shouldn’t be able to do that.”

Police at Gravelly Hill in Caterham
Police at Gravelly Hill in Caterham (Yui Mok/PA)

A woman walking a border collie past one of the police cordons, who asked not to be named, said she was shocked by the incident.

She said: “It’s a nice circular woodland walk and we’ve never had any issues before. It is so shocking, normal dogs surely wouldn’t do that.”

A man at an address near the scene, who asked not to be named, told the PA News Agency the beauty spot was very popular with dog walkers.

He said: “The dogs dispersed into different areas of the woods and the police helicopter was out looking for them.”

A post-mortem examination will be conducted by the Surrey coroner as part of an inquest into the death.

Claire Coutinho, the MP for East Surrey, said: “My thoughts are with the loved ones of the lady who has died following a dog attack in Caterham this afternoon.

“Thank you to the paramedics for their efforts at the scene and officers from Surrey Police who controlled the situation so quickly.”

Surrey County Council leader Tim Oliver said on Friday morning: “It’s a terrible incident. It just sounds absolutely shocking and I’m sure that the police will be following it up.

“I don’t know what can be done but something needs to be done to prevent this from happening again, most certainly.”

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