'Banned' dog mauled baby to death
A pit bull terrier that mauled to death an 11-month-old girl was a banned dangerous dog, police said tonight.
Ava-Jayne Marie Corless was asleep in bed at a house in Blackburn, Lancashire, last night when she was savaged by the animal.
Police and ambulance staff attempted to resuscitate her at the address in Emily Street but she was pronounced dead at Royal Blackburn Hospital a short time later.
The girl's mother, Chloe King, 20, and her partner, Lee Wright, 26, are being questioned on suspicion of manslaughter.
Lancashire Constabulary said the dog, which was destroyed after the attack at 11pm, had been identified by experts as a pit bull terrier-type dog which people are prohibited from owning under Section 1 of the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991.
Locals claim to have made previous complaints about the large dog's behaviour to police. Miss King and Mr Wright were said to be downstairs when the attack took place while Ava-Jayne was in a front bedroom.
Chief Superintendent Chris Bithell. of Lancashire Police, said: "This is an absolutely horrific incident in which a baby girl has lost her life and I would like to take this opportunity to express my own personal sympathy to the wider family of baby Ava."
Asked about claims from neighbours reporting dangerous dogs at the address, he added: "As part of the investigation we are making inquiries to see whether there have been previous issues with this particular dog and I think at this moment it would be too early to speculate on that."
The couple were initially arrested on suspicion of child neglect before they were re-arrested on the more serious offence of manslaughter.
Family liaison officers are offering support to the wider family of Ava-Jayne. The child's father is understood to be Dean Corless.
Writing on Facebook, his sister, Shannon Corless, said: "She is a beautiful little girl, she was only 11 month and didn't deserve to be took away so soon.
"You know what they say god only takes the best, you really didn't deserve to go. I love you loads princess. Your with the angels now princess. Auntie Shannon loves you loads"
According to Miss King's Facebook page, she is a former student at Witton Park High School and Blackburn College who is currently studying food, nutrition and health at Edge Hill College in Ormskirk.