'Accident' verdict on baby savaged by dog

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The Independent Online

The mother of a baby who was mauled by one or two rottweilers found her daughter bloodstained and with a bite mark on her head from one of the dogs, an inquest heard today.

Five-month-old Cadey-Lee Deacon was killed by one or both guard dogs when the door to the room where she was sleeping at a pub in Leicester was inadvertently left ajar, Leicester Coroner's Court was told.

It heard how her mother, Amy Burchell, found the baby on a flat roof at The Rocket in New Parks, alongside one of the animals.

In written evidence, read out in court, Mrs Burchell said: "I looked inside (Cadey-Lee's room) and saw the Moses basket was on the floor in the middle of the room and the stand was toppled over. The blankets were also on the floor.

"I then ran out and ran on to the roof terrace.

"I could see my baby on the floor. I could see that the big dog, Bruno, was lying next to her.

"I did not see (the other rottweiler) Bessie but at that stage I just focused on getting Cadey-Lee.

"I picked her up and... and she was totally covered in blood. There was a bite mark on her head. I thought she was dead."

Mrs Burchell ran downstairs with her baby and they were driven to hospital in a van.

But a short time after their arrival at the Accident & Emergency department, Cadey-Lee was confirmed dead.

Mrs Burchell said: "She was my only child and everything to me.

"What has happened is the most tragic loss I could have faced."

A post-mortem examination found that the child had suffered "a substantial number of injuries", including bite marks to her head, chest and abdomen, Home Office pathologist Professor Guy Rutty told the inquest.

Both dogs, owned by Mrs Burchell's husband, Lee, her then boyfriend, were destroyed the day after the attack.

Mr Burchell, the pub's manager, and his wife were packing and moving items out of the pub's rooms in readiness to move out of The Rocket later that week, the hearing was told.

As the removal took place, the dogs, usually kept in a kennel on the flat roof and prevented from entering the pub unless supervised, were able to gain entry.

Police investigated the incident but the Crown Prosecution Service concluded in September 2006 that there was insufficient evidence to secure a conviction.

The coroner recorded a verdict of accidental death.