Baby's bite death 'highlights danger of dogs near children'

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Media captionDet Insp Phil Shakesheff read a statement from the family saying the loss of Harry is "a tragedy we will carry with us forever"

An inquest into the death of a newborn baby who was bitten by a dog has concluded his death was an accident.

Harry Harper, who was eight days old, died in hospital after being bitten by his grandparents' dog in Ketley, Telford.

The inquest heard there was no history or warning that the dog, which has since been killed, was dangerous.

The assistant coroner said the case highlighted the inherent dangers of young children being left around dogs.

Members of Harry's family, including his mother Mikayla Bell, 19, and his grandmother Teresa, did not give evidence in person to the inquest.

Screaming and shouting

Their statements and those of a paramedic who attended the scene were read to Telford Coroner's Court by a coroner's officer.

In her statement, Harry's mother, described Jack Russell-cross PJ and the family's German shepherd-cross as "mild-mannered" pets.

Miss Bell said: "There have never been any issues with the dogs and young children - they are never aggressive towards people or other dogs."

Image caption Harry's mother said she felt angry but did not blame anyone

Miss Bell said she was woken on the morning of 20 November by an alarm at 06:30 GMT and later heard her mother screaming and shouting.

"I immediately ran downstairs and saw Mum holding Harry over the sink.

"Mum was repeatedly saying 'I'm sorry, I'm sorry' and I heard Mum say 'he's been bitten'," she said.

In her statement, the baby's mother said she felt "angry about what happened but I don't blame anyone".

'Absolutely devastated'

She said that what happened was "a really tragic accident".

Det Insp Phil Shakesheff, of West Mercia Police, said: "The family have an unblemished history of caring for and controlling many dogs over a period of many years.

"There is no evidence to suggest that the death of Harry is anything other than a tragic incident that can't be ruled out from occurring in any other dog-owning household where children are present"

The family released a statement after the inquest saying they "remain absolutely devastated by Harry's death".

"Although he was only with us for eight days, he had brought enormous happiness to us all and his loss is a tragedy we will carry with us forever," the statement said.

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