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Coroner praises mum for fighting off pet dog that killed baby son

By Sam Russell

A mother bravely fought off a Staffordshire bull terrier that savagely attacked her two young sons but could only save the eldest boy, an inquest has heard.

Jade Rogers was at home alone with four-month-old Archie Joe Darby and his brother Daniel-Jay, who turns two this weekend, when the family dog Bailey entered the living room and "immediately" attacked Daniel-Jay.

Miss Rogers fought the dog away from the toddler but the animal managed to pull baby Archie from her arms and maul him to death.

Essex Coroner Eleanor McGann, recording a conclusion of accidental death, hailed Miss Rogers for her bravery in dialling 999, fighting off the dog and barricading it in a conservatory until police and paramedics arrived.

Miss Rogers had moved in to the house in Harwich Road, Colchester, with her sister Clare Ferdinand around a week before the attack on October 13.

The property is owned by Mrs Ferdinand's husband John, and the couple were the owners of the dog, which was put down with their consent.

Miss Rogers told police she was in the living room with her two sons and was calling the children's father, Daniel Darby. The dog entered the room while the pair were on the phone, said senior investigating officer Detective Inspector Gary Biddle.

"It growled and immediately attacked Daniel," he said. "Jade went to get up and tried to move the dog out of the room. It went straight for Daniel's head, biting and shaking his head while she had Archie in her arms.

"She tried to pull the dog off Daniel. It dropped Daniel and pulled Archie out of her arms."

The dog shook Archie around and dropped him, and he died of head injuries.

"Jade said she knew instantly that Archie was dead," added Mr Biddle. "She decided to save Daniel, thought 'I can save Daniel', ran into the kitchen with him, grabbed the phone and dialled 999.

"On the 999 call you can hear him attacking Daniel and you can hear Jade screaming, trying to get the dog off."

Mr Biddle said Miss Rogers managed to barricade the dog in the conservatory. Officers had to force entry because she could not leave the door to let them in.

Coroner Ms McGann described the attack as "harrowing".

"Nobody here is to blame," she said. "It's just one of those hideous things that can't be predicted, and I commend you for your bravery fighting off a dog attacking both of your children."

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