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Jack Lis: Man and woman jailed after 10-year-old boy mauled to death by XL bully dog near Caerphilly

·4-min read

A man and a woman have been jailed after admitting to being in charge of a dog that mauled a 10-year-old boy to death.

Jack Lis was attacked by the American bully, or XL bully dog, called Beast while playing with a friend at a house after school on 8 November last year.

Police were called to the home in Pentwyn, Penyrhoel, near Caerphilly, and the dog was destroyed by firearms officers.

Brandon Hayden, 19, was jailed at Cardiff Crown Court for four years and six months after admitting to being in control of the dog at the time.

Amy Salter, 29, was also sentenced to three years' imprisonment.

Both were banned from owning a dog indefinitely.

The court heard Hayden, of Penyrheol, Caerphilly, became the owner of the 100lb (45kg) dog on 3 November 2021 after answering an advert on Facebook offering it free to a good home, stating that it had issues with other dogs.

He had asked Salter to look after the animal for a short period of time and, in the days that followed, Beast bit at least two people.

Footage played to the court showed Hayden with his pet outside a village shop just four days before the attack.

In the video, he can be seen struggling to control the dog as it lunges towards people walking to and from the shop, including a young girl who retreats behind a car.

Hayden can be seen hitting Beast several times in the head as he tries to pull him back.

In another clip, the dog is shown running at a boy, who drops his scooter, runs away and hides behind a wall.

The next day, just three days before Jack's death, Hayden can be seen on CCTV picking up the dog from his father's house where it had attacked a neighbour's dog.

The day of the fatal attack

On the day of the fatal attack, the dog was unrestrained when Jack walked in to play with a friend.

Prosecutor Gareth James QC said it was not necessary to disclose the full nature of Jack's horrific injuries to the public in court to avoid "unnecessary distress to those already suffering".

He explained that Jack was standing near the door when the dog jumped on him, putting two of his paws on his shoulders and causing him to fall to the floor.

"That is when Beast was seen beginning to attack Jack," he said.

His friend ran to a neighbour to get help but when they returned he could not open the door and could see the dog continuing to attack the young boy.

Police arrived and officers attempted to distract the dog by banging on the windows, which gave Sergeant Ross Phillips to reach inside and pull Jack out but sadly he had already died.

Armed police later entered the house and shot Beast dead in an upstairs bedroom.

'When I close my eyes I see the animal and its teeth'

Judge Michael Fitton QC said Jack's death was a "tragic and needless event".

Turning to the defendants, he added: "The impact of your actions, irresponsibility, and thoughtlessness will live with the family of Jack forever and will way heavily on your conscience for the rest of your life."

In a statement read to the court by Mr James, Jack's mother Emma Whitfield said his death had left a "huge rift" in their family's lives, the lives of Jack's friends and the community.

"The last images a mother sees of her son should never be of him being dragged from a house knowing deep down he is gone but praying it isn't so.

"When I close my eyes I see the animal and its teeth, I hear the barking. I now suffer with panic attacks and severe flashbacks."

Dozens of residents attended the young boy's funeral, wearing red and carrying red balloons, while a procession of high-end cars drove around the town and castle.

A tribute from his best friend, which was read out at the funeral, said: "Jack you went away too soon. I never got to say goodbye but I look forward to the day we meet again."

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