A gran who was mauled to death by two dogs “screamed get off” as the animals set upon her “in front of her traumatised grandson”.
Esther Martin, 68, had been visiting her grandson for the weekend in the Essex seaside village of Jaywick when the horrific attack took place.
Police have arrested a 39-year-old man on suspicion of dangerous dog offences following the tragedy. He reremains in custody and the two dogs involved were destroyed.
Officers rushed to the scene on Hillman Avenue shortly after 4pm on Saturday (February 3) where the grandmother was pronounced dead at the scene.
Police have not confirmed the breeds that killed her but The Sun has reported that there were six “XL bully” puppies and two adult bullies at the home.
The adult dogs reportedly attacked the gran, causing her “traumatised” grandchild to seek help, with neighbours hearing Esther yell: “Get off, get off!”
Children Paul Martin, 45, Kelly Fretwell, 46, and Sonia Martin, 47, were at the scene of the tragedy this morning (Sunday, February 4).
Speaking to The Sun, Paul said: “She came to visit her grandson. The owner of the bullies decided to go out and leave mum with six XL bully puppies and two adults.”
A neighbour said they heard a commotion outside the home and saw a man with a shovel seemingly trying to break a window to get inside, after Esther screamed at the dogs to stop. Police were called and neighbours have said the dogs were then shot dead by officers.
Witnesses Julie Coleman, 62, and Mike Coleman, 74, said they were left in tears following what they saw and heard. They told The Sun: “[We] heard lots of shouting. It started with the shouting. We [had] just got in from work when it all kicked off about 4pm.
“[A] fella came down the road – he was shouting and banging on the window with his fist. He then picked up a brick and broke the window. It’s horrible. I heard them shoot the dogs. It’s so upsetting. I was in tears.
“The guy [tying to get inside to help] was shouting. The dogs were barking. It set ours off. They could sense something. It was so loud.
“I couldn’t understand him [the man trying to help]. I heard him shout ‘give me a sign! Are you alright?’ I think she was dead by that point.
“A young lad climbed up and was looking out the kitchen window. There was apparently blood everywhere.”
Essex Police are continuing to investigate the incident but confirmed the scene is now safe for members of the public. A spokesperson said: “We have been carrying out inquiries to establish the circumstances which led up to the incident and we believe [Esther] had been assaulted by two dogs.”
Chief Superintendent Glen Pavelin added: “My thoughts, and those of our officers and staff, are with the family of the woman who died yesterday.
“This incident will be a huge shock to the community and I understand their concerns. We’ll have officers in the area throughout today so please come and speak to them if you have any information or are worried.
“Experienced detectives are leading the investigation to identify exactly what has happened. I know there will be speculation about the breed of the dogs involved.
“We’re waiting for confirmation from experts about this before releasing further details.”