Inquest into pensioner killed in dog attack opened and adjourned

Matthew Cooper, PA
·1-min read

An inquest into the death of an 85-year-old woman in a dog attack has been adjourned until a further hearing later this year.

The Black Country area coroner Joanne Lees said retired cook Lucille Downer was pronounced dead after police were called to reports that she had been attacked by two dogs at her home in Boundary Avenue, Rowley Regis, on April 2.

A short hearing in Oldbury, West Midlands, was told the Jamaican-born widow’s body was later identified by a relative.

No members of her family were present for the inquest opening, which did not hear evidence from any witnesses.

Flowers outside the house on Boundary Avenue in Rowley Regis
Flowers outside the house on Boundary Avenue in Rowley Regis (Jacob King/PA)

Adjourning the proceedings until a pre-inquest hearing on June 17, Mrs Lees said a forensic pathologist had given the cause of the death as a traumatic injury caused by a dog bite.

The coroner said: “There is a police investigation continuing at present and I am aware that a person has been arrested and bailed in connection with the death.

“In those circumstances, I am going to adjourn to a pre-inquest hearing.

“I should like to take the opportunity to offer my most sincere condolences to the family of Mrs Downer.”

West Midlands Police has previously confirmed that two dogs were humanely destroyed following the pensioner’s death.

The owner of the two dogs, a 43-year-old man, was arrested on suspicion of being the person in charge of a dog dangerously out of control, causing death.

He has been released on conditional bail pending further inquiries.

Police said the animals had escaped a neighbouring property through a hole in the fence before the attack.