The owner of two XL Bullies who mauled a grandmother to death has been named and pictured. Loving gran Esther Martin was visiting her grandson aged 11 in a home suspected of containing eight of the breed when the pair pounced.
Grieving daughter Kelly described Esther, 68, as “amazing”, adding: “She came to visit my nephew and now she is dead.”
Neighbours in Jaywick Sands, Essex, tried to save the retired Tesco worker but it was fatally injured.
Armed police shot dead the adult dogs, reportedly named Bear and Beauty, which were owned by Ashley Warren – the father of Esther’s grandson.
The youngster was heard screaming for help as they attacked.
Lucy Shaw, 38, who lives behind the house, said there was screaming for about 10 minutes: “We heard dogs barking and then we heard someone screaming.
“It seemed like the screaming of a child. We went back in after a while because it sounded horrific.”
Police who raced to the scene near Clacton-on-Sea found Esther lying in a pool of blood with devastating bite injuries, but the mother-of-four could not be revived.
The attack at 4pm on Saturday came after she had arrived from her London home. Warren – also a rapper who goes by the name Wylessman and who features in drill music videos – had allegedly posted a Facebook advert selling XL Bully puppies for £500 in November.
The breed of the dogs that killed Esther has not yet been confirmed but her relatives claimed that they were both XL Bullies.
A 39-year-old Jaywick man was arrested on suspicion of offences related to dangerous dogs. He remained in police custody last night New laws requiring all XL Bully dogs to be licensed came into place last week.
Esther often visited her grandson after his mum, her daughter Clare Hayes, died two years ago.
Another daughter Sonia yesterday told how police visited her Chesterfield home at 10pm on Saturday to break the shocking news and she immediately drove to Essex with siblings Paul Martin, 45, and Kelly Fretwell, 46.
She said their mother, from Woodford Green, East London, had been frightened of the dogs.
Sonia, 47, said: “They were XL Bullies.There were eight of them in the house, six puppies and two adults. Mum had raised concerns about the dogs over their breed.
“Her grandson was in the house. He came running out shouting for help.We would like to thank all the neighbours who tried to help our mum.”
Kelly called her mum “amazing”, adding: “She was retired and trying to bring her life back on track after the passing of my sister two years ago.”
Chief Supt Glen Pavelin said police officers had arrived “within minutes” but had been unable to save Esther.
He added: “Their priority was to keep the community safe. Their unflinching bravery and professionalism ensured that there is no ongoing threat to the people of Essex.
“Both dogs were destroyed inside the house. I would also like to thank the local people who tried to get into the house to help Esther Martin. You should be proud. Our thoughts remain with everyone affected.”
The police chief refused to comment on claims of previous complaints about the dogs but said officers would look at all “avenues of inquiry and background”.
Mike Coleman, who lives on the same street as the house where Esther died, said he saw a man walk down the road shouting.
Mr Coleman, 74, added: “He was really, really loud. Then he starts whacking at the windows. He appeared panicked. He said ‘Phone the police’. My wife phoned them but they said they had someone else on the phone. Minutes later, the police came: two cars, then three, then five and then they blocked the road off. I heard the shots of [the dogs] being destroyed.”
His wife Julie, 67, said: “When I went down to see what was going on, he said there was a lady inside the property who was being attacked by two dogs.
“He said he had got a phone call to go and check on this lady. He was very stressed, very agitated, very verbal and quite concerned… shouting ‘They’re XL bullies’, but I just don’t know [the breed].”
From this month, police can seize XL Bully dogs if they are not registered or if they do not comply with the new restrictions.
Owners can face a criminal record and an unlimited fine.
The ban was brought in after attacks committed by the breed killed and seriously injured several people and other dogs. Since December 31 it has also been a requirement to ensure XL Bullies are microchipped and neutered.
They must also be muzzled and kept on a lead while in public. Hundreds of wooden chalets were built in Jaywick in the 1930s, primarily as cheap holiday homes for working-class Londoners. But in recent decades it has struggled with poverty and has previously been called the most deprived area in Britain.
Three-bedroomed bungalows in Jaywick are for sale from just £70,000 while a run-down chalet on an unmade road there can cost as little as £40,000.