Uncle in clear over niece's dog maul death

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The Independent Online

There is not enough evidence to justify prosecuting a man over the death of his 18-month-old niece who was mauled by his dog, police said today.

Zumer Ahmed suffered multiple bites after being attacked by the cross-breed animal at the family home in Cotton Walk, Broadfield, Crawley, West Sussex, on April 17.

Her uncle, Urfan Ahmed, 32, was arrested on suspicion of manslaughter on the same day and freed on bail by Sussex Police until today.

But following advice from the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) officers said "there is insufficient evidence to justify" prosecuting him over her death.

He was charged today with possession of a dog designated as bred for fighting under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 and will appear at Crawley Magistrates' Court on July 27.

The dog referred to in the charge is not the animal which attacked Zumer and was seized at the property after the attack. It is being kept in kennels pending the outcome of the case.

The dog which attacked Zumer was not a banned breed and was put down last month with the agreement of Ahmed, a police spokesman said.

He said: "Following a detailed police investigation and advice from the CPS South East complex case unit, it has been decided that there is insufficient evidence to justify criminal proceedings against Mr Ahmed in relation to the death of his 18-month old niece Zumer Ahmed at their family home in Cotton Walk on Saturday 17 April this year."

The attack happened in front of the girl's three-year-old sister, mother and grandmother.

Police said it appeared that the girl was in the kitchen with her relatives when the dog entered the house from the garden.

Workmen from a nearby property managed to rescue the youngster from the dog's jaws but she had suffered serious facial injuries.

Plumber Saqib Nazir, 32, spoke at the time of his desperate bid to rescue the child by forcing the dog away using a towel, pipe bender and spirit level.

He said he cradled the girl for 15 minutes until an ambulance arrived. She was taken to the East Surrey Hospital in Redhill, Surrey, where she was pronounced dead.

A post-mortem examination found she died from haemorrhaging and fracturing of the skull from multiple bites.

Ahmed, who also lived at the address, was not present at the time of the attack but arrived shortly afterwards and was arrested.