Cambridgeshire

Rosa King tiger death: Zoo barrier had 'no mechanical faults'

Rosa King pictured in 2016
Image caption Rosa King was killed by a tiger in the enclosure she was cleaning

A steel slide meant to keep humans and tigers apart at a zoo where a keeper was mauled to death by a tiger had no mechanical faults, an inquest heard.

Rosa King, 33, was cleaning windows in the tiger enclosure at Hamerton Zoo Park when she was attacked by a Malayan male called Cicip.

Miss King suffered "traumatic" injuries including a severed spinal cord.

The inquest heard she would have had an unobstructed view of the slide on entering the paddock.

Tigers could only access different areas within their enclosure when permitted to do so by zoo staff, Sgt James Thorne told the inquest in Huntingdon.

The Cambridgeshire Police officer said: "There are no obstructions to the view.

"For me it was quite apparent as you walk into that enclosure which slides were open and which ones were closed."

Immediately after the attack, two gates and the metal vertical slide designed to keep staff and tigers apart, were found open, the inquest heard earlier.

Image copyright Hamerton Zoo Park/Facebook
Image caption Ms King looked after the carnivores at the zoo, where she had worked for 13 years

Elizabeth Yeomans, a Health and Safety Executive senior ergonomist, conducted a "human failure analysis" of the zoo's procedures.

She told the inquest keepers were not required to record the tiger's location and they conducted a visual check only.

A keeper could "forget to check" where it was before entering the paddock or "could have a memory lapse or be distracted", she said.

The inquest previously heard Ms King was on duty the evening before and may have left a tiger in the paddock overnight.

Ms Yeomans said the "very responsible and meticulous" keeper was unlikely to skip a procedure, but human error can occur because "you're rushing, you're tired".

She added sometimes, when a person has completed a task many times before, "you look and see what you think you should see".

The inquest continues.

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