Women plead guilty after dog mauls pensioner to death

09/05/2014

Two women have pleaded guilty after their dog mauled a Liverpool pensioner to death.

Clifford Clarke,  79, died after he'd been attacked by a Presa Canario dog, known as "Charlie", in the garden of his home in Richard Kelly Close in Clubmoor on 25 May last year.

At Liverpool Crown Court, Hayley Sulley, 30, of Richard Kelly Close, Norris Green and Della Woods, 29, of Swallowhurst Crescent, pleaded guilty to an offence under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991.

The charge was that they allowed a dog to enter a place where it was not permitted and that the dog then fatally injured Mr Clarke.

Sulley and Woods also pleaded guilty to three offences of causing unnecessary suffering to a dog.

Tests showed that the dog had not been fed or watered adequately for several hours before the attack.

The tragedy occurred after retired 79-year-old hospital porter Mr Clarke opened his back door to air the kitchen as he cooked food.

Charlie and another dog had escaped from Sulley's garden minutes before and had wandered into the garden of Mr Clarke's home.

Neighbours had reported seeing the dog behaving dangerously and one of them called the police when he heard screaming coming from Mr Clarke's garden.

The neighbour was horrified when he saw the pensioner on the floor being dragged and mauled by the dog. Armed police arrived and shot the dog dead. Mr Clarke was pronounced dead shortly afterwards in hospital.

Gary Simpson, Senior Crown Prosecutor with the Crown Prosecution Service Mersey-Cheshire, said: "This was a vicious attack on a defenceless man who was powerless to fight back against this large and powerful dog.

"The guilty pleas of these two women have thankfully brought this case to a relatively speedy conclusion and have saved Mr Clarke's relatives the ordeal of a trial.

"Hayley Sulley and Della Woods were both responsible for the dog's welfare and behaviour on that fateful day.

"Today, they have admitted that they were remiss on all counts.

"Their failure to make sure the dog was cared for and under control has led to a man's death and they must now come to terms with that. Our thoughts are with the family of Mr Clarke at this sad time."

Hayley Sulley and Della Woods will be sentenced at Liverpool Crown Court on 2 June.