Dog owner faces jail after admitting being in charge of two American bulldogs which mauled great-grandmother, 85, to death in her garden after escaping his home through hole in fence
- Darren Pritchard, 44, pleaded guilty to offence under the Dangerous Dogs Act
- Also admitted possessing cannabis with intent to supply and producing drug
A dog owner faces jail after he today admitted being in charge of two American bulldogs which killed a pensioner after escaping through a hole in a fence into a neighbouring property.
Darren Pritchard pleaded guilty to an offence under the Dangerous Dogs Act and drugs offences after 85-year-old retired cook Lucille Downer was killed by the two dangerous animals.
The 44-year-old, of Smethwick near Birmingham, made the admissions at Wolverhampton Crown Court and was warned he is likely to be jailed when sentenced on May 15.
Darren Pritchard arrives at Wolverhampton Crown Court today where he was allowed more than two hours to speak to his barrister outside the courtroom before admitting a charge
Lucille Downer, 85, a retired cook, was pronounced dead at the scene on April 2, 2021
Forensics teams outside the home in Rowley Regis where Mrs Downer died in April 2021
Pritchard was allowed more than two hours to speak to his barrister outside the courtroom before admitting a charge stating that he was the owner or in charge of two dogs which were ‘dangerously out of control’ causing injury, resulting in the death of Mrs Downer at her home in Rowley Regis, also near Birmingham.
He also admitted possessing cannabis with intent to supply and producing the drug at an address in the street.
Mrs Downer was pronounced dead at the scene on April 2, 2021.
West Midlands Police said at the time that Mrs Downer suffered ‘multiple’ injuries after the dogs escaped from a neighbouring property through a hole in a fence, with her family saying in a statement that they would ‘miss her dearly’.
During a brief hearing before Judge Michael Chambers KC, Pritchard spoke only to confirm his name and his guilty pleas.
Granting Pritchard conditional bail, Judge Chambers told him: ‘You have had the courage to plead guilty to these matters and you will get appropriate credit (for pleading guilty) in due course.
Police at the scene in April 2021 on Boundary Avenue in Rowley Regis, near Birmingham
Flowers and tributes outside the home in Rowley Regis where Mrs Downer died in April 2021
‘But they are clearly serious matters which cross the custodial threshold so you should be under no illusion as to the likely sentence.’
The facts of the case were not opened by prosecutor Howard Searle during the hearing, which was told Pritchard had been ‘out of trouble since 2013’ at the time of Mrs Downer’s death.
West Midlands Police had previously revealed that the two dangerous dogs had been ‘humanely destroyed’ as they could not be rehomed.
Mrs Downer’s family had said in a previous statement: ‘Lucille was a mother, grandmother and great- grandmother who spent her working years as a cook at Bromford House Care Home in West Bromwich.
‘Lucille was born in Jamaica and emigrated to the UK in her early 20s. Since arriving in the UK, Rowley Regis has always been her home and her family will miss her dearly.’
An inquest held previously was told Mrs Downer was found in her back garden.
A forensic post-mortem examination was carried out and the medical cause of death was found to be a neck injury caused by a dog bite.
Source : https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-11985833/Man-admits-charge-dogs-caused-pensioners-death.html?ns_mchannel=rss&ito=1490&ns_campaign=1490&rand=1270