First pictures of Natasha Johnston, dog walker mauled to death by dogs at Surrey beauty spot

13 February 2023, 11:41

Natasha Johnston
Natasha Johnston. Picture: Supplied

By Kit Heren

The first pictures have emerged of Natasha Johnston, a south London woman bitten to death by dogs she was walking in Surrey earlier this year.

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Friends described Ms Johnston, 28, as a 'bubbly" and "beautiful" woman who loved animals, and was loved by them in return.

The dog walker, from Croydon, died after suffering massive blood loss caused by multiple bites to the neck in Gravelly Hill, Caterham, on January 12, while she was out with eight dogs.

An inquest heard how the medical cause of death was given as "shock and haemorrhage" following the "perforation of the left jugular vein".

Photos of Ms Johnston, originally from the Isle of Wight, show her happily relaxing with a dog, driving and spending time with a friend.

Natasha Johnston (L) with a friend
Natasha Johnston (L) with a friend. Picture: Social media
Ms Johnston
Ms Johnston. Picture: Social media

"Long countryside walks with the dogs were her thing," Ms Johnston's friend Jo Butchers told the Mail on Sunday. "She did a lot of dog walking here, not as a professional but with her own dogs and those of friends.

"Then she moved away and that became her job in London. She grew up with dogs, so she always loved them."

The local council claimed in the aftermath of Ms Johnston's death that she was not a licensed dog walker, but Ms Butchers insisted that her friend did have her licence.

Another friend added: "She was definitely not new to dogs – the complete opposite. She always loved them and absolutely adored her own, talking about them all the time. She seemed really happy being a dog walker in London, she used to put videos on her Snapchat of the dogs.

"So it’s ironic the way that she was killed, bless her.

Natasha Johnston
Natasha Johnston. Picture: Social media

The mother of a childhood friend said: "We’re absolutely devastated. She was so caring, a beautiful girl inside and out.‘She was always bubbly when she used to come to meet my girl. They used to go out together and enjoy their lives as young teenagers.

Read more: Dog walker, 28, died from ‘multiple penetrating bites to the neck’ in mauling at Surrey beauty spot, inquest hears

Read more: Pictured: Girl, 4, killed by family dog in Milton Keynes attack as neighbours describe mother's 'piercing screams'

"She’s going to be sorely missed. I know there will be a lot of people going up to her funeral."

Dog trainer: 'Worrying' to see people ignoring warning signs from dogs

Before becoming a dog walker, Ms Johnston worked as a carer on the Isle of Wight, a job she left in 2017.

One former colleague said: "She was really good at her job, she made it fun for the elderly and made them feel young again. We had lots of laughs together. Obviously dogs were her passion, she always wanted to work with animals, but in the care industry she was just that – caring."

None of the eight dogs Ms Johnston was walking at the time of the attack are said to have been banned breeds.

No prosecutions are set to be brought against any individuals, and police said in January that the criminal investigation into the attack had officially been closed.

Gravelly Hill is a location popular among professional dog walkers, with a witness at the time recalling Ms Johnston had "screamed at us to turn back" as the dogs were attacking.

Ms Johnston's demise was one of two high-profile deaths involving dogs this year. A four-year-old girl was also killed in Milton Keynes on January 31 by a family pet.

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