Tributes to 'happy lad' who died after being mauled by dog
The family of a man who died after he was attacked by his dog whilst suffering an epileptic fit have paid tribute to a "happy lad who was always smiling".
Liam Hewitson, 22, of Preston, was mauled by his dog Trigger after suffering a fit when he was at home alone, police said.
He sustained significant injuries to his face and neck and died at the scene.
In a tribute his family said: "Liam was a happy lad who was always smiling and had lots of friends. He had a beautiful personality and he will be missed by his dad Phil, girlfriend Jess and sisters Melissa and Aleisha and brother Cordell."
Police have confirmed there will not be a criminal investigation and they are treating the incident as "a tragic accident".
The dog, which was a male pit bull cross and not a banned breed, is thought to have been around five or six years old and had belonged to Liam since its birth.
Following the incident it was put down by vets.
One neighbour in Dundonald Street, Maureen Glaubitz, 78, said she believed the dog was an American pit bull but it had not shown a "vicious side".
However a warning sign on the terraced property's gate read "beware of the dog".
Mrs Glaubitz said: "He was a lovely lad. He would say to me, 'if you need anything Maureen, don't be afraid to ask'.
"It was a lovely dog, was Trigger, the dog was all right. I think it was an American pit bull, because I said to him I'm always a little bit wary of these kind of dogs. He said, 'he is all right, he has gone through the tests'. It must be the tests with the police they go through to be able to keep them.
"I could stroke him, I sent him some stuff over for him for Christmas, I used to take him bones across."
She added that Mr Hewitson suffered from epilepsy.
She said: "It's very sad. From what somebody told me, Liam had an epileptic fit. One of his mates said he has had a fit and in my own thinking ... it's upset the dog and the dog in its own way probably thinking to help him."
On Facebook the victim's girlfriend Jessica Hill, 23, said: "Rip my baby boy love you forever & always babe."
She told the Daily Mail she had "no words".
"I'm too devastated to speak. I just love and miss him so much," she said.
Mrs Glaubitz added that Trigger had been a "popular" dog who had been allowed on the street during the summer.
"As far as I know it was his dog, he was lovely. I never saw any vicious side to the dog. They have put him to sleep which I suppose is understandable."
Friends of Mr Hewitson continued to lay flowers outside the property.
One read: "1 of the greatest guy ever exist!!! RIP Liam my friend."
Mourners took part in a candlelit vigil for Mr Hewitson on Friday night.
On Saturday morning a candle was still burning amongst the scores of flowers tied to the lamppost outside the boarded-up property.
One neighbour said Mr Hewitson's girlfriend was "absolutely distraught" and hours earlier had brought the new year in with her boyfriend.
Paramedics were said to have been outside the house for around three hours.
Another neighbour described it a tragedy and hailed Mr Hewitson as an "absolute gentleman".
Misbah Saeed, 40, a retail assistant, said: "He was very pleasant. I would see him with the dog often, it was fine, I'd walked past it myself so many times, I'm surprised. I'm just shocked, to me the dog seemed okay. In summer the dog would be out. I am quite petrified but once I knew it was okay to walk past it was fine."
She said she was aware that Mr Hewitson was prone to seizures.
"To me he was one of the most polite, caring gentlemen, an absolute gentleman. It's a massive loss, I don't think the street will be the same again. He was an amazing person.
"Death itself is going to come to everyone but it's the way it happens that you can't believe, and we will always remember Liam being mauled by a dog and that will stick now and it is such a shame because he was an amazing person."
One floral tribute read: "Sweet dreams Liam. Cannot believe yesterday."