Rowley Regis dog attack: Woman, 85, killed by dogs that got through fence hole

  • Published
Lucille DownerImage source, West Midlands Police
Image caption,
Lucille Downer was a great grandmother who had spent her working years as a cook in a care home

An 85-year-old woman died when two large dogs got into her garden through a hole in a fence and attacked her, police said.

The victim, who has been named as Lucille Downer, suffered a "sustained" attack and was found with serious injuries in Rowley Regis on Friday.

She was a mother, grandmother and great-grandmother and her "family will miss her dearly", relatives said.

Supt Phil Asquith said her death was "tragic and horrific".

A 43-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of being the person in charge of a dog dangerously out of control.

He has been bailed while inquiries continue and the dogs are being tested to establish their breed, West Midlands Police said.

Mrs Downer's family, who released their statement through the force, said she was born in Jamaica and emigrated to the UK in her early 20s.

"Since arriving in the UK, Rowley Regis has always been her home and her family will miss her dearly," they said.

She had spent her working years as a cook at a care home in West Bromwich.

Image source, PA Media
Image caption,
Flowers have been put near the scene

Flowers have been placed in her driveway in Boundary Avenue, with one displaying the message "RIP Nan".

Supt Asquith, of West Midlands Police, told a press conference earlier that neighbours and family who live nearby responded "very quickly" after the dogs escaped from a neighbouring property.

"The dogs will have unfortunately carried out a fairly sustained attack so there were multiple injuries, mainly caused as a result of the delay in getting into the garden," he said.

He said officers were called to the scene at about 15:20 BST by neighbours who said she was "under attack from dogs from a neighbouring property".

"Our officers attended, by which point the dogs had returned through a hole in the fence to the adjacent property and then, unfortunately, despite the best efforts of medical professionals, that lady died at the scene," he said.

Image source, PA Media
Image caption,
Police have been at the scene since Friday's attack

The dogs were tranquilised and transported to secure kennels where they were being tested to determine their breed.

Supt Asquith described the dogs as "large" but would not speculate on whether or not they were banned under the Dangerous Dogs Act, adding DNA samples had been taken from them.

"Fortunately, these types of incidents are rare," he said.

"This presented no wider threat to the public. It was a hole in adjacent premises so they weren't running in the streets."

Image caption,
Supt Phil Asquith said specialist officers were supporting the victim's family

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