The mother of a zookeeper mauled to death by a tiger has declared a £250,000 fine imposed on the attraction to be "fair".

However, Fiona McClay, whose daughter Sarah, 24, was killed at South Lakes Safari Zoo in Cumbria three years ago, said her family would now sue the attraction.

The zoo - whose owner David Gill avoided criminal conviction - had already admitted contravening health and safety laws on the day of the tragedy.

Then on Friday it was £255,000 at Preston Crown Court for faults leading to Ms McClay's death on May 24, 2013, and a further £42,500 for mistakes which led to a zookeeper falling from a ladder while preparing to feed big cats a year later.

Mrs McClay, speaking to The Herald, said: "The fine was fair and as the judge explained fully in line with the legislation and the size of the zoo and its profits.

"However, we will take our own civil action. We have already lodged our papers and now that we have a guilty verdict will be pursuing that."

Ms McClay - who was doing her "dream job" after visiting the zoo as a youngster - was pounced on by a Sumatran tiger called Padang when she was doing her work feeding the zoo's big cats and cleaning their enclosures.

Sentencing, Mr Justice Turner said "it should not have been possible" for the tiger to gain access to where Miss McClay was working.

He said: "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".

South Lakes Safari Zoo Ltd admitted that on or before May 24 2013, it failed to ensure the health, safety and welfare at work of employees - including Ms McClay - arising out of and/or in connection with the keeping of big cats.

It also pleaded guilty to failing to ensure that persons not in its employment on the above date were not exposed to risk to their health and safety.

The pleas came ahead of a scheduled trial, and the prosecution offered no evidence against Mr Gill 55 - who had faced individual charges on the same allegations.

Miss McClay suffered "unsurvivable" multiple injuries and was airlifted from the scene to hospital where she was formally pronounced dead.

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 from the tiger's "dark den" 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 animal was supposed to never have access to the corridor, but the male tiger walked through the dark den door to where Miss McClay, from Barrow-in-Furness, was carrying out cleaning and feeding duties in the house.

Two internal sliding gates were also open, which allowed Padang and his female companion, Alisha, to move in and out of a light den and a dark den to the outside enclosure.

The company accepted its risk assessment did not address sufficiently the risks arising from a failure to maintain the dark den door - labelled in court as "the last line of defence" for the animal keepers.

In a statement, the company said: "All at the South Lakes Safari Zoo offer their deepest and most heartfelt sympathies again to Sarah McClay's family and loved ones in respect of her tragic death.

"As has been said in court, Sarah was an enthusiastic, caring, dedicated and valued member of the zoo's animal staff, and she is missed greatly by all those who knew and worked with her.

"The Judge recognised that to a very considerable extent safety was a priority at the zoo. It remains a priority. The judge noted the positive remarks by those inspecting the zoo and the commitment and enthusiasm of the zoo's management.

"Lessons have been learned and the zoo continues to prioritise safety for staff and visitors."