Zoo admits safety breaches over keeper's death

A zoo has admitted health and safety breaches over the death of a keeper who was mauled by a Sumatran tiger.

Thursday, 9th June 2016, 2:27 pm
Updated Monday, 13th June 2016, 12:00 pm
A zoo keeper who died after being mauled by a tiger may have been "dragged" into a pen, police said. Sarah McClay, 24, was attacked by a Sumatran tiger in an enclosure at South Lakes Wild Animal Park, near Dalton-in-Furness, Cumbria, on Friday. Cumbria Police said a tiger escaped from its pen and attacked Ms McClay who was in a staff area.

Sarah McClay (24) was pounced on in the keeper’s corridor of the tiger house at South Lakes Wild Animal Park in Dalton-in-Furness, Cumbria, on May 24, 2013.

The company, now known as South Lakes Safari Zoo, entered guilty pleas at Preston Crown Court to contravening the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 in relation to the day of the tragedy.

It admitted that on or before May 24, 2013 it failed to ensure the health, safety and welfare at work of employees, including Miss McClay, arising out of and/or in connection with the keeping of big cats.

The prosecution offered no evidence against the firm’s sole director, David Gill, 55, who faced individual charges on the same allegations and formal not guilty verdicts were recorded against him.

Miss McClay’s mother, Fiona McClay, from Linlithgow, West Lothian, said it was her daughter’s “dream job” after she had visited the park as a child.