Police name three-year-old boy killed by dog; Woman arrested

Police name three-year-old boy killed by dog; Woman arrested
Dexter Neal.

A three-year-old boy who was fatally attacked by an American bulldog has been named as Dexter Neal.

The youngster died in hospital after being bitten at a property in Parker Way, Halstead, Essex, near his Ronald Road home, at around 5.40pm on Thursday.

He was airlifted to Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge but later died.

A 29-year-old woman has been arrested for allowing a dog to be dangerously out of control and injuring a person, Essex Police said.

The dog has been seized by officers and placed in kennels.

The child was attacked at an address in Parker Way in the town, and a police cordon has been placed around the semi-detached property.

Phyllis Younger, who has lived in Parker Way for 58 years, said she heard screaming at around 5.45pm, with emergency services arriving shortly afterwards.

Police name three-year-old boy killed by dog; Woman arrested

The 82-year-old told the Press Association the screaming "did not go on for long" and she was sure they were from a child.

"Now I know what the scream was, it is absolutely awful," she said, adding: "It was like someone was in pain, definitely - agonising screams. It is terrible."

She said she thinks the screams came from outside, adding: "I don't think I would have heard it as clearly if it had been in the house."

Shirley Diver, the mayor of Halstead Town Council, said of the little boy's death: "It is an absolute tragedy, the whole town will be completely shocked and devastated by this.

"It is such a terrible thing to happen anywhere, you just don't expect it to happen in your town. We are a close-knit community, everybody knows everybody."

Mother-of-five Lisa Smith, 43, who lives in Parker Way, said the family who lived at the address behind the police cordon "kept themselves to themselves" and had not been in the street as long as her other neighbours.

"They're very private people, to be fair," she said. "It's just terrible. I just feel so sorry for them."

A spokesman for Essex Police said: "The boy, who is aged three, was taken to hospital, where he sadly died from his injuries."

The breed of the dog has yet to be established, he added.

Police name three-year-old boy killed by dog; Woman arrested

The East of England Ambulance Service said an air ambulance was called to the scene, along with two rapid response vehicles, paramedics and an ambulance.

A spokesman said: "At the scene, a young child was treated for life-threatening injuries before being airlifted to Addenbrooke's Hospital (in Cambridge).

"Sadly, despite the best efforts of everyone involved, the child has died. Our thoughts are with the family involved at this time."

The young boy's death comes just days after a 52-year-old man was attacked and killed by a dog which had been returned to its owner despite concerns that it was dangerous.

David Ellam was out walking with his Yorkshire terrier close to his home in Huddersfield on Monday when he was attacked by another dog. He later died in hospital.

West Yorkshire Police said the animal had been seized by police following a visit by a dog warden in June, but had been returned to its owner on August 8 after it was determined that it was not a banned breed.

James Cleverly, MP for Braintree, whose constituency includes Halstead, said: "It's a small town with a very strong sense of community and this will be a massive shock. It will be a body blow to the town.

"There's a huge sense of civic pride and when news like this happens in your local area it's a real shock."

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