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Mum and gran of baby girl Molly-Mae killed by pet pit bull jailed

By Alexander Britton

Published 16/09/2016

Claire Riley
Claire Riley
Susan Aucott
Friends and family of Susan Aucott and Claire Riley leave Northampton Crown Court after both were sentenced for offences related to the death of baby Molly-Mae Wotherspoon

The mother and grandmother of a six-month-old baby girl mauled to death by a “vicious” American pitbull that saw the toddler as “prey” have been jailed.

The dog, named Bruiser, picked up Molly-Mae Wotherspoon by the head and launched a “sustained attack” in Daventry, Northamptonshire, on October 3, 2014.

The baby suffered a catalogue of terrible injuries, including a fractured skull, bites to every limb and four puncture wounds to her brain.

She was pronounced dead at the scene of the attack at 11.08pm and later taken to hospital, where her cause of death was given as severe blood loss.

Northampton Crown Court heard Molly-Mae was being looked after by 56-year-old Susan Aucott while her mother Claire Riley, 23, went for a night out with friends.

Opening the case, prosecutor James House QC told the court Aucott dialled 999 and told operators the dog had killed Molly-Mae as the attack took place.

The court heard that the animal, which weighed 33kg, was kept in a cage alongside a Staffordshire bull terrier called Pups, and that he escaped “without apparent difficulty”.

At around 10.30pm, the dog made its way out of the “flimsy” cage in the kitchen and managed to open the door into the living room, where Molly-Mae was on a changing mat.

Mr House said: “The attack was sustained. Susan Aucott simply was unable to bring Bruiser under control or remove Molly-Mae from the situation. He was an aggressive and dangerous dog and should not have been left in the house with a person who could not control him.”

Police were forced to use pepper spray to subdue the animal for emergency services to gain access to the property, and Mr House said that it later took “several people” and a “significant amount of time” to euthanise the dog.

Aucott, who has a history of problems with alcohol abuse, admitted to having drunk a glass of wine on the night of the attack, and the court heard that Riley was “very upset and accused her mother of being drunk in charge of her child” when she found out Molly-Mae was dead.

Riley, from Merrydale Square in Northampton, and Aucott, from Alfred Street in the town, were each handed two-year sentences.

Mrs Justice Carr told the pair they would serve half of their sentence in prison and the remainder on licence. They were also banned from owning a dog for 10 years.

The judge said: “This was a tragic and avoidable incident. Bruiser was a large, strong and aggressive dog, weighing some 33 kilograms. He should never have been living cooped up in a small house with a new baby.”

Belfast Telegraph

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