Liverpool

Uncle jailed over boy killed by dog in Liverpool

Christian Foulkes arriving in court
Image caption Foulkes pleaded guilty to the charges at a previous hearing

The uncle of a four-year-old boy who was mauled to death by a pit-bull has been jailed for four months for breeding and owning the dog.

Christian Foulkes, 22, pleaded guilty to three counts under the Dangerous Dogs Act at Liverpool Magistrates' Court last month.

John-Paul Massey was fatally injured by a pit-bull at his uncle's home in Wavertree, Liverpool, on 30 November.

The dog also attacked his grandmother as she tried to protect him.

John Paul was savaged by the pet, called Uno, while he was being looked after by his grandmother Helen Foulkes at her home in Ash Grove, Wavertree, in the early hours of 30 November.

Despite efforts to save him, the youngster died shortly after the attack by the dog, which was killed by police marksmen.

Tests later showed that the animal was a pit-bull, a breed banned under the Dangerous Dogs Act.

District Judge Miriam Shelby, sentencing, told Foulkes: "I know you are aware of your own culpability and the events of that night will stay with you for the rest of your life.

"But it is clear that this case - the death of your nephew - was entirely the result of your actions and your negligence."

Image caption John Paul was savaged by the dog at his grandmother's home

As well as Uno, Foulkes also admitted owning and breeding a pit-bull bitch, named Lita, which was hit by a car and killed a day after John Paul's death.

A third dog, named Lucky, had also been kept by Foulkes but was killed by the other two, the court heard

Foulkes, of Ash Grove, Wavertree, was away at Catterick Garrison at the time of the attack after joining the army weeks earlier.

Joanne Parsons, prosecuting, described Uno, who was allowed to sleep in the house, as a "powerful dog".

She said police had to distract the animal before ambulance staff could get inside the house to treat John Paul and his grandmother.

A vet who carried out a post-mortem on the animal commented on its "immense muscle mass and definition", the court was told.

Family nightmare

Foulkes insisted the dogs were kept as family pets and there was "no evidence on either dog of their use for fighting", Ms Parsons added.

Foulkes attended the court on Tuesday supported by John Paul's Mother, Angela McGlynn.

A letter from Mrs McGlynn was handed to Judge Shelby before the sentencing.

Mark Ellis, defending, said Foulkes had suffered "a nightmare of epic proportions".

He added: "He desperately wishes he could turn the clock back but in reality all he can do is offer a heartfelt and sincere apology."

Following John Paul's death, it emerged that Merseyside Police did not take action after receiving an earlier report of dog breeding taking place at Mrs Foulkes' home.

The court heard that Lita was pregnant with 11 puppies at the time of her death.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) is currently investigating the force.

On Monday, John Paul's grandmother Helen Foulkes was also charged with keeping a dangerous dog. She is due before magistrates in Liverpool on 10 June.

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites