Caterham dog attack victim died from bites to her neck, inquest opening hears

Natasha Johnston, 28, suffered shock and haemorrhage.

31 January 2023

A young woman who was mauled by dogs at a Surrey beauty spot died of “multiple penetrating” bites to her neck, an inquest opening has heard.

Natasha Johnston, 28, suffered shock and haemorrhage including a wound to her left jugular vein when she was attacked on January 12 in Gravelly Hill, Caterham, Surrey Coroner’s Court was told.

At the opening of an inquest into her death, coroner Simon Wickens expressed his “sincere condolences” to Ms Johnston’s family “and all those touched by her life”.

The coroner said on Tuesday: “A post-mortem examination was carried out at Royal Surrey County Hospital on 18 January.

Dog attack in Caterham
Gravelly Hill in Caterham, Surrey (Yui Mok/PA)

“The medical cause of death (was) given as 1a) shock and haemorrhage including perforation of the left jugular vein, and in 1b) the pathologist places multiple penetrating dog bites to her neck.

“The reason for the inquest required is the nature of the traumatic injuries.”

Mr Wickens formally recognised the family of Ms Johnston, who was from Surrey, as interested persons in the proceedings.

“I offer Natasha’s family and indeed all those touched by her life my sincere condolences,” he said.

He fixed a date of 29 June for the inquest to begin but added that it could be subject to change.

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