Leeds & West Yorkshire

Emma Bennett dog attack death: Partner Lee Horner sentenced

Lee Horner
Image caption Lee Horner admitted owning the dogs which killed his partner Emma Bennett

A man whose dogs killed his pregnant partner has been spared jail after a judge said the tragedy would torment him for the rest of his life.

Mother-of-four Emma Bennett, 27, died after she was attacked by the animals at her home in Leeds on 9 December.

Lee Horner, 34, was ordered at Leeds Magistrates' Court to do 280 hours of unpaid work.

Deputy District Judge Tim Spruce said a prison term could not compensate for the loss of a loving mother of four.

Horner, of Helston Green, Leeds, pleaded guilty to owning dogs prohibited by the Dangerous Dogs Act.

Judge Spruce described the attack as "unpredictable, but with devastating consequences".

'Bear responsibility'

The court heard police were called to the house Horner shared with Miss Bennett in Dawlish Avenue in December after neighbours reported hearing what they thought was an argument.

Miss Bennett was allegedly heard shouting "no, no, no".

When officers arrived, they found the dogs, named Bella and Dollar, with blood on their noses and Miss Bennett lying motionless on the floor with extensive facial and head injuries.

She was taken to hospital but died two days later.

Image caption Tributes to Emma Bennett were left near the scene of the attack

Judge Spruce said Horner had shown "deep remorse", but he had failed to take reasonable steps to establish the nature of the dogs.

He added: "You must live for the rest of his life with the torment of bearing the responsibility for Emma's death."

The court heard Horner had threatened to set one of the dogs on two female social workers months before the fatal attack.

Prosecutors said he told one woman "shut it or I'll set the dog on you", and told another, who was pregnant, "What you looking at? Wait until I get the dog and see if you continue looking at me like that."

Horner was banned from keeping dogs for life and ordered to pay £800 costs.

The dogs will be destroyed.

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