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Dogs that mauled grandmother to death in Jaywick were XL bullies, police say

Esther Martin was killed at home at the weekend

Rich Booth
Friday 09 February 2024 12:27 GMT
Police confirm identity of Essex grandmother killed by dogs

Two dogs that fatally attacked a grandmother in Jaywick were XL bullies, Essex Police has said.

Esther Martin, 68, was killed at a home in Hillman Avenue on Saturday after reportedly trying to break up fighting puppies.

She had been visiting her 11-year-old grandson when the tragedy occurred, with neighbours describing “horrific” screaming.

Chief Superintendent Stuart Weaver said the physical features of the two dogs destroyed at the scene by officers were examined by a police-trained dog expert and a forensic post-mortem examination was carried out on them by a veterinary scientist.

“Through this combination it was confirmed that the dogs were XL bullies,” Mr Weaver said.

He added: “I know there has been a huge amount of speculation about the breed and type of dog involved here, but it was really important we got that information right and established the facts.”

Esther Martin (Family handout)

A 39-year-old man arrested after the grandmother was fatally attacked has been released on bail.

The victim’s daughter, Sonia Martin, said the dogs were of the XL bully breed – which was banned at the start of this month – with a total of six puppies and two adults in the property.

Police arrived “within minutes”, but despite the efforts of six officers as well as by members of the public, Ms Martin died at the scene.

The 39-year-old man arrested on suspicion of dangerous dog offences, who detectives said has a familial relationship with the victim, has been released on conditional bail until March 5.

In a statement released on Monday, Mr Truss said: “We’re making good progress in our investigation into Esther’s death.

“It is an investigation with a number of complexities, but we are determined to give Esther’s family the answers they need.

“We are working with experts to confirm the breed of the dogs. This may take some days but it’s really important we get it right.

“I would ask people not to speculate about this element – we will establish the facts and we will keep the community in Jaywick updated.”

He added: “We’re continuing to support Esther’s family. They have asked to be able to grieve in peace”.

Ms Martin, of Chesterfield, Derbyshire, told the BBC that her mother had previously expressed concerns about the “dangerous and aggressive dogs”.

She told the broadcaster: “There were adult XL bully dogs in the property, and my mum had raised concerns to the owners about them being dangerous and quite aggressive. There were also six puppies.”

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