Zoo Fined £225,000 After Scots Keeper Killed By Tiger

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A zoo has been fined £255,000 after a Scots keeper working there was killed by a tiger.

Sarah McClay was pounced on in the keeper’s corridor of the tiger house at South Lakes Safari Zoo in Cumbria.

The 24-year-old, originally from Glasgow, was working in her “dream job” at the facility, a previous inquest had heard.

At Preston Crown Court on Friday, the owners of the zoo were fined an additional £42,500 for health and safety breaches after an employee fell from a ladder while preparing to feed big cats.

Sentencing, Mr Justice Turner said “it should not have been possible” for the tiger to gain access to where Ms McClay was working on May 24, 2013.

He stated: “But as a substantially contributory cause as a result of a door-closing mechanism failure, it did.

“The result was as tragic as it was foreseeable. The tiger attacked and Sarah was fatally injured.”

The judge said the incident the following year involving a ladder was “an accident waiting to happen”.

The zoo owners will now also have to pay £150,000 in prosecution costs, after they admitted the safety breaches at a hearing on Wednesday.

In September 2014, an inquest jury in Kendal ruled in a narrative verdict that Padang the Sumatran tiger got to Ms McClay by entering two open internal sliding gates within the tiger house and then an open door that led on to the corridor.

Systems were in place at the park to ensure that animals and keepers remained apart at all times through indoor and outdoor compartments connected by lockable self-closing doors, the inquest heard.

Ms McClay had worked at the park for more than two years and was well experienced with working with big cats which she saw as a “privilege”.

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

Original Source – STV News.

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