Former Oxford professor killed by stray dogs while hiking in Greece

Published 27.09.2017 08:40
Updated 27.09.2017 13:31
emReuters File Photo/em
Reuters File Photo

A missing British tourist may have been mauled to death and devoured by feral dogs while hiking between archaeological sites in northern Greece, authorities said Tuesday after a woman's gnawed body was discovered in a remote, hilly area.

Greek police confirmed that the mauled human remains found on Saturday belonged to Celia Lois Hollingworth, 63.

Greek media outlets reported that she previously worked as a professor at the University of Oxford and has currently been working as a staff member in the University of Bristol's professional services team.

However, a police official told Agence France-Presse (AFP) that police were waiting for results to determine whether the woman was killed by animals or her remains were eaten after her death.

"We are not yet 100 percent sure and are waiting on the conclusions of the forensic pathologist," the official said.

"We do not exclude a criminal act" before the body was left in the area, which is frequented by shepherd dogs, wolves and jackals, the source said.

Police in the northeastern region of Rodopi were informed on Friday of the woman's disappearance after her brother told British police he was concerned he had not heard from her late Thursday.

According to testimonies given to investigators, the woman left the village of Maroneia on Thursday in a taxi to a nearby archaeological site. The police found the macabre discovery about 4 kilometers from the site.

The woman's passport, shoes, bag and hat were found near the remains, police said.

Greek media initially reported that the woman was killed by wild animals, which would be an exceptional case in the country.

Hikers in the Greek countryside often face fierce shepherd dogs and feral dogs near inhabited areas that can be aggressive. Wolves roam remote parts of the country and have been reported in the Petrota area.

Police said Hollingworth's brother in England reported her missing to British police, who notified the embassy in Athens.

Police said she was going from an ancient site to another one in Messimvria, near the sea and 30 kilometers away by road. She was reportedly sighted later in the day in a coastal area between the two sites. The remains were found in the hills further inland toward Petrota.

Britain's Foreign Office is providing consular assistance to her family.

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