Father jailed after newborn baby boy mauled to death by pet dog
Newcastle Crown Court heard the attack could have been stopped, but the father didn’t wake up and the mauling may have lasted up to 20 minutes.
A man who drunkenly slept through a sustained, fatal attack by the family’s terrier on his three-week-old son has been jailed for 21 months.
Reggie Young’s mother, Maria Blacklin, screamed in horror when she came home to find the baby barely alive, with partner Ryan Young and Lakeland-cross Tricky asleep.
Newcastle Crown Court heard that the attack by the foot-tall dog could easily have been stopped, but the father did not wake up and the mauling may have lasted up to 20 minutes.
Young later told police he had drunk eight cans of Foster’s lager, and a taxi driver came forward to say he had been asked to deliver eight more to the address in Falkland Road, Sunderland, on the evening in June 2015.
Miss Blacklin’s grandmother had died that day and she had gone out to console her family, leaving her partner, a roofer, to look after Reggie, who was in a bouncer in the lounge.
The court heard that the dog was kept in the garden and normally only allowed in the kitchen, but there were no concerns over its temperament around children; it was not a fighting dog or used in vermin control.
Miss Blacklin returned home after 4am to what Judge Tim Gittens said was a scene of “Gothic horror”, with her newborn on the floor in a pool of blood.
Reggie was blue but still breathing and paramedics were called but he could not be saved.
Young later told police: “I would not say I was drunk, more tired.”
Shaun Dodds, prosecuting, said: “The officers who arrived described the defendant as appearing drunk.”
He refused to give a breath test and the amount he had drunk was not clear.
Inquiries suggested the baby fell or was dragged from the bouncer and was mauled by the terrier, which had not been introduced to the newborn and may have been driven to attack by Reggie’s “unco-ordinated” movements.
Mr Dodds said: “Had the defendant not been asleep in drink, he would have been able to stop the attack.”
Young, who admitted being the owner of dog that resulted in the death while dangerously out of control at a previous hearing, wept loudly throughout the proceedings.
Young carried his son’s coffin ahead of his funeral service, Caroline Goodwin QC, defending, said.
“He is absolutely devastated,” she said.
“Nothing he can do can turn back the clock and bring back his own child. It was all the more harrowing for the family when he carried his child’s coffin before the service.
“It has been a long two years, this is a life sentence for this man.”
No family members were in court for the sentencing hearing.