A ‘bulldog’ that mauled a nine-year-old boy to death at a caravan park had been left alone with the youngster despite a history of attacks, it was claimed.
Frankie MacRitchie was killed by a ‘bulldog-type breed’ while on holiday at Tencreek Holiday Park in Looe, Cornwall.
The owner of the dog, which is called Winston, has been named locally as nail technician Sadie Totterdell, 28, a friend of Frankie’s mother Tawnee Willis.
The youngster had been staying at the park with relatives and friends, but they were in an ‘adjacent’ caravan when he was attacked at around 5am on Saturday.
Members of the public who heard ‘sounds of distress’ coming from the caravan rushed over to give Frankie first aid before the emergency services arrived but he died at the scene.
Ms Willis, 30, was reportedly seen crying and screaming in her dressing gown after the tragedy.
Frankie MacRitchie, nine, pictured with mother Tawnee Willis in a photo taken just hours before his death, was posted with the caption ‘caravan life with my babes’
Frankie MacRitchie, nine, was found dead by police inside a static caravan following the dog attack at around 5am on a Saturday
Frankie MacRitchie, nine, with mother Tawnee Willis. He is believed to have been staying with his grandmother in a caravan when the tragic incident claimed his life
Frankie’s heartbroken father left a tribute to the youngster online last night in which he said his ‘whole world has shattered into a million pieces’
Ms Totterdell was arrested in Plymouth on suspicion of manslaughter and having a dog dangerously out of control, but was released under investigation.
A source told The Sun that the dog is often muzzled after being involved in four less-serious attacks in the past, including one that happened just a few weeks ago.
It is claimed that Frankie’s mother and the family friend had gone for drinks in another caravan when the attack took place.
Frankie’s heartbroken father Billy MacRitchie left a tribute to the youngster online last night in which he said his ‘whole world has shattered into a million pieces’.
He wrote: ‘Daddy is so lost without you little man I really don’t know how I’m ever gonna live without you.
‘This should never have happened I wish I could hold you and kiss you forever. You are my whole life and now your gone.
Relatives leave flowers at the entrance to Tencreek Holiday Park, Looe, Cornwall today
Frankie Macritchie with his father Billy Macritchie pictured together before the youngster’s death
Relatives leave flowers and a cuddly toy at the entrance to Tencreek Holiday Park, Looe, Cornwall today
‘Sleep tight my darling boy, my best friend, my everything.’
Dangerous Dogs Act 1991
The Dangerous Dogs Act (1991) outlaws four types of dog; the pitbull terrier, Japanese tosa, dogo Argentino, and fila Brasilerio (Brazilian Mastiff).
Owners of dogs who attack someone can face jail time depending on the severity on their home or any private property, unless the dog attacks a trespasser.
Prison sentences in England and Wales are:
– Up to 14 years for a fatal dog attack
– Up to five years for injury
– Up to three years if an assistance dog is attacked
One holidaymaker staying told the Sun how they saw the dog wandering the park without a lead.
He added: ‘I thought it had a dark face. Now I realise his white fur was covered in blood.’
Yesterday Frankie’s family laid flowers at the entrance to the holiday park and paid tribute to him.
His aunt Danielle Macritchie, 35, left a bouquet of flowers and a handwritten note, saying: ‘Auntie Danielle loved you so much baby boy.
‘I’ve loved you from the second I knew you were coming.The first time I saw you, you were still in mummy’s belly and I knew right away we were going to be best friends.
‘I’m so sorry this has happened. I am going to miss you till my heart stops beating. We love you baby boy.’
She also posted on Facebook: ‘My baby boy I just want you back now, I want this to stop now. Our lives are ruined forever. How do we ever stop this pain?’
Police tapes cordon off a large area around static caravans at the Tencreek Holiday Park, Looe, Cornwall today, April 14, 2019
Emergency services descended on Tencreek Holiday Park in Looe, Cornwall, just before 5am after a ten-year-old boy was mauled by a dog
Officers were alerted to reports of an ‘unresponsive’ child who was pronounced dead at the scene
Her boyfriend Matthew Watering, 35, added: ‘We have been to Looe today to lay some flowers which as you can imagine was very difficult, the circumstances in how this has happened is so tragic and hard to understand, I don’t think any of us will.
‘We love you so much Frankie and will hold our memories forever.
‘Words can’t describe the pain our family are going through today we love you so much. Heartbroken.’
The horrific attack was allegedly by a ‘bulldog-type breed’
The ‘bulldog-type’ dog has been seized and remains in kennels in Cornwall.
Mike West, Detective Superintendent from Devon and Cornwall Police’s major crime investigation team, said the force is still investigating if the dog is registered as a dangerous breed.
Breeds banned under the Dangerous Dogs Act include the pit bull terrier, Japanese tosa, dogo argentino and the fila brasileiro.
‘Whether or not the dog will be put down is not a decision for the police at this time,’ Det Supt West said.
‘We’ve got specialists that are looking at the breed of the dog, and that’s part of our inquiries.
We need to understand exactly what the breed of the dog is.’ He added in a statement: ‘Frankie had been staying at the holiday park in the company of adults for a number of evenings prior to his tragic death.
‘We believe that Frankie was alone in a caravan with the dog as he was attacked, whilst the adults that he was on holiday with were in an adjacent unit – these two groups of people were known to each other and from the Plymouth area.
‘This is a desperately sad event which has seen a nine-year-old boy lose his life whilst on holiday; our thoughts and sympathies are with the loved ones of Frankie and those who knew him.
‘I also wish to recognise those who came to his aid at the scene – members of the public and emergency services staff who had to work in deeply upsetting conditions.
‘We appreciate that this case will shock and upset the public. However, we urge the public not to apportion blame on this tragic incident, and to allow us to do our job and to fully investigate this matter.’
Management at the holiday park offered their ‘deepest sympathies’ to Frankie’s family.
A picture posted by Tawnee Willis of her son Frankie Macritchie, nine, was found dead by police inside a static caravan following the dog attack at around 5am on a Saturday
Three hours later a 28-year-old woman was arrested in Salatash, 15 miles from the holiday park (pictured), and remains in police custody