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Gran mauled to death by escaped dogs

The pensioner killed after being attacked in her garden by two dogs that escaped through a hole in the fence has been named as great-grandmother Lucille Downer.

The 85-year-old suffered multiple injuries in the ‘horrific’ incident in Rowley Regis, West Midlands on Friday afternoon.

Worried neighbours rushed to try and help, but she was confirmed dead at the scene shortly afterwards.

In a statement released through West Midlands Police, her family said: ‘Lucille was a mother, grandmother and great-grandmother who spent her working years as a cook at Bromford House Care Home in West Bromwich.

Lucille was born in Jamaica and emigrated to the UK in her early 20s. ‘Since arriving in the UK, Rowley Regis has always been her home and her family will miss her dearly.’

The owner of the two dogs, a 43-year-old man, was arrested on suspicion of being the person in charge of a dog dangerously out of control, causing death.

He has been released on conditional bail pending further inquiries.

On Saturday morning, floral tributes were left on the victim’s drive, with one displaying the message ‘RIP Nan’.

The property remains sealed off and a large police van was parked outside the house.

Speaking at a press conference outside West Bromwich Police Station on Saturday, Superintendent Phil Asquith said: ‘Neighbours called to report that a woman, 85 years of age, was under attack from dogs from a neighbouring property.

‘Our officers attended, by which point the dogs had returned through a hole in the fence to the adjacent property and then, unfortunately, despite the best efforts of medical professionals, that lady died at the scene.

‘An operation was then under way to secure the dogs.

They were tranquilised and transported subsequently to secure kennels where they currently remain and they are being tested to determine their breed.

‘Fortunately, these types of incidents are rare.

This presented no wider threat to the public. It was a hole in adjacent premises so they weren’t running in the streets.

‘It was contained and the male who owned those dogs was arrested yesterday. He has subsequently been bailed for further inquiries whilst we undertake a forensic post-mortem to determine the cause of death and to determine the breed of the dogs involved.”

Asked what injuries the victim had suffered in the incident, Superintendent Asquith said: ‘The dogs will have unfortunately carried out a fairly sustained attack so there were multiple injuries, mainly caused as a result of the delay in getting into the garden. ‘

But the specifics of the injuries I can’t go into.’ He said the dogs have been taken for testing to determine their breed under the Dangerous Dogs Act to see whether they are banned.


The family of great-grandmother Lucille Downer said they ‘will miss her dearly’ (Picture: SWNS/West Midlands Police)

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