Monday, May 31, 2010

Sentencing due over child's death

A man who kept an illegal dangerous dog which killed his four-year-old nephew will be sentenced on Tuesday.
John-Paul Massey suffered multiple injuries when he was savaged by the family pet at his grandmother's home in Liverpool last November.
The boy's uncle, 21-year-old Christian Foulkes, pleaded guilty at Liverpool Magistrates' Court last month to two counts of possession of a dangerous dog and one count of breeding a dangerous dog.
John-Paul was staying at his uncle's home in Ash Grove, Wavertree, Liverpool, when he was killed in the early hours of November 29.
The dog, a two-year-old white male pitbull called Uno, also attacked his grandmother Helen Foulkes, 63, as she tried to protect the youngster.
Foulkes, who had joined the Army just weeks earlier, also admitted owning a pitbull bitch, named Lita, which was being looked after by John-Paul's father.
District Judge Richard Clancy has warned him that his convictions were "extremely serious" and he faces jail.
He will be sentenced at Liverpool Magistrates' Court from 1.45pm.

UK Press Association 

Update June 1, 2010 12:24pm - BBC News reports that John-Paul's grandmother, Helen Foulkes, was charged by police, on Monday, with keeping a dangerous dog.
She is due to appear before magistrates in Liverpool on 10 June.

Update June 1, 2010 7:54pm - The Daily Star reports that Christian Foulkes has been sentenced to four months imprisonment.
Speaking at Liverpool Magistrates’ Court where John-Paul’s heartbroken mum Angela McGlynn sobbed uncontrollably, Judge Miriam Shelby told Foulkes he only had himself to blame.
She said: “I know you are aware of your own culpability and the events of that night will stay with you for the rest of your life.
“But it is clear that this case was entirely the result of your negligence.”
Mark Ellis, defending, begged the court for leniency because Foulkes’ girlfriend is due to give birth to their second child on July 8.
He said: “The consequences of this offence will live with this defendant for ever. That is his punishment.
“He has lived in a cavern of guilt, a nightmare of epic proportions.”
Speaking outside court, Mr Ellis said: “My client has taken today’s sentence on the chin and hopes that he will serve as an example to others.”
Foulkes, of Wavertree, Liverpool, was also banned from keeping dogs for life.

Update July 1, 2010 9:37am - The following article is by Mike Hornby, The Independent:

Woman banned over dog that killed grandson

A woman was given a suspended jail sentence today after being convicted of keeping an illegal dog which killed her grandson.
Four-year-old John-Paul Massey suffered multiple injuries when he was savaged by the pitbull, Uno, at Helen Foulkes's home in Liverpool last November.
Foulkes, 63, admitted one charge of keeping a dangerous dog at Liverpool Magistrates' Court.
She was given a four-month jail term, suspended for 18 months, along with a supervision order, and also banned from owning a dog again.
Her son, John-Paul's uncle Christian Foulkes, 21, pleaded guilty to owning the animal and was jailed for four months in June.
Sentencing the grandmother today, bench chairman Ian Lomax told Foulkes: "Here we have an extreme example of what a dangerous dog can do when they are deemed unsuitable to be kept as domestic pets.
"I don't need to remind you of the consequences. It is as extreme as you can get - the death of your grandson.
"You will have to live with that for the rest of your life.
"No purpose will be served by you serving an immediate custodial sentence."
Foulkes, of Ash Grove, Wavertree, Liverpool, was supported today by several relatives, including her daughter and John-Paul's mother, Angela McGlynn.
On the night the youngster was killed, November 29, he was staying at the home of his grandmother and uncle.
Uno, a two-year-old white male pitbull, had been left in Foulkes's care when her son joined the Army. Another pitbull-type dog, a bitch called Lita, was given to John-Paul's father to look after.
The family considered the grandmother was unable to look after both dogs, the court previously heard.
The little boy had woken up at around midnight and said he was hungry so his grandmother went to get him a packet of crisps.
By the time she returned John-Paul was already asleep again so she opened the crisps to give them to the dog.
But as she did, Uno pounced at John-Paul. She tried to force the dog off her grandson and was attacked herself as a result.
Prosecutors have described Uno as a "powerful dog" and said police had to distract the animal before ambulance staff were able to enter the house and treat John-Paul and his grandmother.
It was later decided by police to destroy Uno and it took two bullets to kill the dog.
Lita died when she was knocked down by a car a day after John-Paul was killed.
A post-mortem examination found that, at the time of her death, she was pregnant with 11 pups sired by Uno.

Update November 30, 2010 12:15pm - The following article is from BBC News:
Memorial service for dog attack boy John Paul Massey 

A memorial service has been held to mark a year since a four-year-old boy was savaged to death by his uncle's dog

John Paul Massey was killed by the pitbull at his grandmother's home in Wavertree, Liverpool last November.
His mother, Angela McGlynn, attended the ceremony at St Anne's RC church earlier.
The young boy's uncle, Christian Foulkes, was jailed for four months for owning and breeding a dangerous dog.
As the schoolboy was attacked by the dog, his grandmother, Helen Foulkes, 63, sought to save him but without success. She was treated for minor injuries in hospital.
Shortly after his death - the second fatal dog attack in Merseyside in less than three years - there was a call for laws on dangerous dogs to be tightened and harsher punishments to be served to those who break them.
Merseyside Police are currently under investigation by the Independent Police Complaints Commission after the force admitted it did not take action after receiving a report of dog breeding at the house when John Paul died.
Speaking to the BBC in April, his mother, Ms McGlynn paid tribute to her son calling him a "proper little chatterbox".
"He was funny, he was mischievous and he was always up to something, he had his own little sayings.
"He was amazing, he was very demanding, people would have to stop and talk to him no matter where you went."
'Could turn' She called for new laws that would ensure dogs were muzzled when playing with children under the age of 12.
"Your pet dog could just turn and I don't want anyone to go through what we have gone through."
She said the dog had played with children on numerous occasions without any problems.
"But nobody knows what a dog is thinking, no-one knows what's going in their head, you have to be careful."
The Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 bans the breeding, sale or exchange of four kinds of dogs: pitbull terriers, Japanese tosas, the dogo Argentinos and the fila brasileiros.
Owners can be imprisoned for a maximum of two years if their dog injures someone.

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