Belfast Telegraph

Friday 25 July 2014

Fox attack on baby brought our nightmare back, says Northern Ireland mum

Mum Pauline with daughter Lola after she was attacked by a fox
Mum Pauline with daughter Lola after she was attacked by a fox
The Koupparis family
The Koupparis family

The Northern Ireland mum whose twins were seriously injured by a fox says that the latest attack on an four-week-old baby has brought back horrific memories.

Newcastle-born Pauline Koupparis said none of her family was able to sleep after learning of the horrific attack in London when a fox tore off the finger of a four-week-old boy after dragging him from his cot.

Surgeons later successfully reattached the baby's finger in a difficult three-hour operation.

The child had also received puncture wounds to the face after the fox crept into the house in Bromley through an open back door.

On Sunday night Pauline Koupparis, whose twin daughters Lola and Isabella suffered shocking injuries in 2010 when they were attacked by a fox as they slept in cots in their east London home, said she knew it would eventually happen again.

"It's horrific. None of us slept last night. You think it's never going to leave us as a family," she said. "I always knew it would happen again.

"We were continuously hoping it wouldn't but I knew it would happen again."

The girls were nine months old when the fox crept into their home through an open back door and attacked them in their cots.

The family had feared that Lola, who was bitten on the face, could lose an eye, although she has now recovered well – meanwhile, Isabella will require surgery into her teenage years.

"Isabella will have to have more surgery at some time on her arms. She will have this until she's an adult – it was right down to the bone at the time," Pauline said.

"What has been a godsend for us is that they were babies at the time and they don't remember."

She described how the fox had crept into her house through an open back door and made its way upstairs into the twins' bedroom. "It's a very secure garden, with an 8-10ft fence round it – you'd never think a fox would get in and come all the way up the stairs," she said.

"We heard the crying on the baby monitor. I can't even talk about it. It was so difficult."

However, it was her son Max, now aged seven, who bore the brunt of the psychological scars in the wake of the attack, Pauline said.

"He had nightmares – he's the one that really suffered the most."

It was difficult enough that the twins had undergone such a horrific animal attack, but the family were to face further trauma as comments they had made about controlling urban foxes unleashed a torrent of abuse from incensed animal activists.

"We had our tyres slashed in the street, we had to install panic alarms in the house and we had police protection. It was pretty horrendous," Pauline said.

The baby attacked last week was taken to Evelina Children's Hospital where two plastic surgeons performed microsurgery to reattach his finger.

A source at the hospital said very young children recover well and the operation had proved successful.

Factfile

The fox attack on a one-month-old baby is not the first such incident.

  • In June 2010 toddler Jake Jermy was taken to hospital after reports he had been attacked by a fox while attending a party at a school in Brighton, East Sussex. The three-year-old was reportedly bitten on the arm after he stroked the tail of the animal.
  • In September 2003 sleeping four-year-old Jessica Brown was bitten on the arm when a fox crept into her upstairs bedroom in Tufnell Park, north London.
  • In July 2002 14-week-old Louis Day suffered puncture wounds in the head at his home in Dartford, Kent, when a fox entered the livingroom he was in.

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