Belfast Telegraph

Woman held after boy (3) dies following dog attack

By Staff Reporter

A toddler who died after being attacked by an American bulldog was yesterday named as Dexter Neal.

The three-year-old passed away in hospital after being bitten at a home in Halstead, Essex.

A 29-year-old woman was arrested for allowing a dog to be dangerously out of control and injuring a person.

She remained in police custody yesterday.

Dexter was airlifted to hospital, but doctors were unable to save his life.

The dog was seized by officers and placed in kennels in the aftermath of the attack.

A spokesman for Essex Police said: "The boy was taken to hospital, where he sadly died from his injuries."

The breed of the dog has yet to be established, the police spokesman added.

An air ambulance was called to the scene, along with two rapid response vehicles, paramedics and an ambulance.

"Agonising screams" were heard by a neighbour as the toddler was bitten by the animal.

Phyllis Younger, who has lived in the area for 58 years, said she heard shouting at around 5.45pm, with emergency services arriving at the scene shortly afterwards.

The 82-year-old added that the screaming "did not go on for long", and that she was sure the noise came from a child.

"Now I know what the scream was, it is absolutely awful," she explained. "It was like someone was in pain, definitely - agonising screams. It is terrible."

She added she thought the screams came from outside and said: "I don't think I would have heard it as clearly if it had been in the house."

Blood could be seen on the floor of an outhouse at the property, behind a police cordon, including a spatter across a child's toy car, as specialist forensics officers inspected the scene.

Neighbour Scott Nowell (19), described what he saw on the street in the aftermath of the attack as shocking.

He told the BBC: "I could hear terrible screams. The mother was on the front garden. She was down on her knees, distraught and covered in blood.

"The ambulance and the police then came along and they took over.

"The dog got quickly taken away - it was terrible, terrible scenes. Everyone was out there trying to help."

A police cordon was yesterday in place around the property where the attack happened. A number of people also left floral tributes to the boy outside.

Belfast Telegraph

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