Anna Leask

Anna Leask is a police reporter for the New Zealand Herald.

Rottweilers' victim fought addictions

Cameras at the Redvale property north of Albany filmed Chloe Mathewson dancing and playing with the guard dogs before lying on the ground, where two of them mauled her to death. Photo / APN
Cameras at the Redvale property north of Albany filmed Chloe Mathewson dancing and playing with the guard dogs before lying on the ground, where two of them mauled her to death. Photo / APN

The father of the woman mauled to death by rottweilers says his daughter struggled with "serious addictions" that her family tried to help her overcome.

Jim Mathewson, principal of Birkenhead College on the North Shore, said 31-year-old Chloe's death had shattered him and her brother, Ben.

Her savaged body was found in the driveway of a home at Redvale, just north of Albany, on Friday.

The dogs' attack was taped by CCTV cameras monitoring the property. The Herald has learned that Ms Mathewson walked out of the house and started dancing - attracting the dogs' attention. She apparently then played with the dogs before lying on the ground, where she was attacked.

Mr Mathewson said he and his son were in deep pain and agony trying to cope with losing the "tall, beautiful young woman".

"Tragically, she looked after everyone but herself. She had serious addictions which Ben and I have worked to exhaustion to help her overcome."

"This beautiful young woman, when clean and free from her addictions, would have made a truly positive contribution to our society."

Her mother had died from dementia while Ms Mathewson was a teenager.

Mr Mathewson said his daughter "loved people, was sensitive, caring and compassionate, and had a glorious sense of humour, a very capable mind and was gifted in sports and music".

"Her magnetic personality drew people to her and she inspired other young people to make a difference in their lives."

Initially, police suspected Ms Mathewson was the victim of foul play. However, the CCTV footage and autopsy results established that she died after being mauled by two of the three rottweilers on the property.

The dogs were used as guard or "attack" dogs at the home, which was at the centre of a police investigation two months ago. Officers would not comment on that investigation, or whether drugs were involved.

A police source said Ms Mathewson had been at the property overnight visiting the 52-year-owner, Andrew Grant Wai Poi.

He was asleep when she died, and went out to look for her when he realised she was not in bed. He found her in the driveway.

A second source said people associated with the address were known to the police.

It is understood that part of the coroner's inquest into Ms Mathewson's death will focus on what, if any drugs, she had taken before the attack, and what effect that had on her behaviour around the dogs.

The source said the dogs were "well known" to the Auckland Council and confirmed they had recently attacked a steer at a neighbouring property, ripping its ear off.

Mr Wai Poi is assisting the police with the investigation into Ms Mathewson's death.

Detectives are still considering whether to lay charges, but one source said he expected to see "serious animal control charges" relating to the mauling.

All three dogs were removed from the property and destroyed shortly after Ms Mathewson's body was found.

- NZ Herald

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