Man jailed after his killer American bulldogs mauled great-gran, 85, to death in back garden | The Sun

A MAN has been jailed for just under five years after his killer American bulldogs mauled a great-gran to death in her back garden.

Lucille Downer, 85, was killed in her back garden by the dogs in Rowley Regis, West Midlands on April 2 2021.

Today Darren Pritchard, 44, was jailed after earlier pleading guilty to owning two dangerously out of control dogs.

He also admitted possessing cannabis with intent to supply, and producing the drug at an address in the street in Rowley Regis where Lucille Downer was pronounced dead.

Wolverhampton Crown Court heard that Pritchard's 85-year-old next-door neighbour, who had dementia, suffered fatal injuries to her neck when she was attacked by the dogs.

Both of the American bulldogs are legal to own in the UK.

Read More UK News

Woman stabbed to death and another hurt as man and woman held for ‘murder’

Counter-terror cops raid home on same road where 2 found dead in Nottingham horror

Howard Searle, prosecuting, told the court that Pritchard was at work when the animals got into Mrs Downer's garden through a hole in the fence and started "mauling" her.

She was left with deep wounds to her left leg and the left side of her neck.

Neighbours reported hearing screaming and thought Mrs Downer may have fallen.

They went with the pensioner's daughter to her house, where they found one of the dogs attacking her.

Most read in The Sun


Two students on way home from club among three killed as terror cops raid home


Hilarious moment City hero Grealish is carried by Walker after huge booze-up


Turkish surgeon 'slapped' Danniella during surgery 'without anaesthesia'


Major pharmacy chain to close 237 branches in supermarkets

Mr Searle said: "One of the dogs held her by the neck and dragged her from side to side.

"The dog was mauling and pulling Mrs Downer. The other dog had blood around its mouth, suggesting a joint attack."

The neighbours and Mrs Downer's daughter had to retreat inside the house and block the door with a wheelie bin, while a neighbour tried to distract the animals with dog biscuits.

The court also heard that paramedics could not help Mrs Downer until Pritchard himself returned home and got the dogs away from her.

When Pritchard was arrested and his house searched, police discovered bags of cannabis with an estimated street value of just under £20,000.

They also found 10 to 12 cannabis plants in the loft and around £35,000 in bundles of cash.

Neighbours had previously witnessed Pritchard hitting one of the dogs "repeatedly" on one occasion, and "goading" one of the animals while it was on a rope leash on another, Mr Searle told the court.

Another neighbour reportedly informed the RSPCA after seeing the dogs left outside in the cold.

During a police interview, Pritchard said he kept the dogs in the house and did not muzzle them because he did not think they were aggressive.

He accepted that the dogs had escaped into neighbouring gardens before.

Defending Pritchard, Morgan Pirone said the defendant was "under no illusions" that he would be going to prison and was remorseful for what had happened.

He said: "On April 2 2021, his actions destroyed the Downer family. Nothing can repair the damage he has done.

"He knew Mrs Downer for seven years. He cannot forget or forgive himself for what happened."

Sentencing Pritchard, who carried a holdall into the dock with him, Judge Michael Chambers KC said Mrs Downer was the victim of a "dreadful and sustained attack".

He said: "Only a matter of weeks previously, the dogs had escaped into another neighbour's garden.

"What occurred was entirely foreseeable. Lucille Downer was an 85-year-old lady who lived a much-respected and long life.

"For anyone to die in such circumstances is truly tragic, but, suffering from dementia, she must have found this most shocking and upsetting.

"She was entitled to feel protected in her own garden, but the dogs forced their way through the fence and mauled her. You left them free to roam.

"No-one was able to get near them until you returned home and intervened. It is a measure of their ferocity and the injuries were dreadful."

Pritchard was jailed for 45 months for the offence under the Dangerous Dogs Act and for 12 months for drug offences, to run consecutively.

Read more on The Sun

Urgent warning to check sunscreen bottles after woman reveals horror ‘burn’

I’m a fairground whizz – how to win at the games, despite some being rigged

He was ordered to serve half of the sentence in prison and the second half on licence.

West Midlands Police have previously said the dogs were humanely destroyed after the incident.

Source: Read Full Article