The family of a four-year-old girl who was killed in a dog attack say they are trying to “come to terms” with the tragedy.
Alice Stones was set upon while playing in the back garden of her home in Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, yesterday afternoon.
Her family are “trying to come to terms” with the “horrendous” tragedy, a relative told the Mail Online.
Neighbours described hearing Alice’s mother, Louise scream after the dog attacked her child. The animal was later destroyed.
Police and paramedics rushed to a home in the city’s Netherfield area after reports that a dog had attacked a child in the property’s back garden.
Armed police raided the home, where it is believed they cornered the dog and destroyed it. Thames Valley Police has said no arrests have been made as they investigate the attack.
Locals left flowers outside the house this morning, while others described Alice's mother's “desperate screams” as her child was killed by the animal, which neighbours claimed the family bought about six weeks ago.
“I heard ‘She's dead! She's dead!’ a neighbour said. ‘They'll stay with me forever. It was a nightmare. I'm heartbroken. They will haunt me.”
Neighbour and mother-of-four Rita Matthews, 36, said: “I always saw the little girl on the way to school with her mum because she is the same age as my daughter.
“I heard screams of the little girl coming from the garden but I didn't know what was going on.
“Lots of police cars turned up and we were all told to stay inside. I then saw on Facebook what had happened and was shocked.
“I had never heard any dog noises coming from the house before and I don't think they even have a dog of their own. I feel so sad because I have four children and I feel for the little girl's mother.”
A neighbour whose children go to school with Alice told The Sun that residents were instructed by police to stay inside in case the dog escaped.
An officer allegedly warned: “If this dog gets out, somebody is going to get hurt.”
The neighbour described the animal as a “big brown dog” that the family got a few weeks back but had “only seen it at the house.”
“Those of us who live in Broadlands been told not to leave our homes,” a resident told The MK Citizen last night.
Michelle Kitchener, 54, said Alice lived in the house with her mother Louise who is a single mother.
The mother-of-two said: “The mum always kept herself to herself but I would sometimes see her drop the little girl off at nursery or school.
“At 5.30pm I heard police cars coming down the street and then when I look outside there was lots of police.
“I have never seen or heard a dog bark coming from that house.
“I didn’t even know they had a dog.”
Superintendent Matt Bullivant of Thames Valley Police said the incident is “absolutely tragic.”
“Clearly, we are in the very early stages of an investigation, and it would be wrong and unhelpful to speculate as to the exact circumstances of this incident at this point.
“However, in order to ensure public safety, a decision was made earlier this evening to destroy the dog involved, and this has been done humanely.
“I understand how much of an impact this will have on the community and on the wider public, and people can expect to see a large police presence in the area this evening and beyond while our investigation continues.
The young girl’s family are being supported by specialist officers, and police were still at the property in Broadlands on Tuesday night at the time of a statement issued by Thames Valley Police – four hours after emergency services were first alerted.
No one else was injured in the incident, police said.
The girl’s death came hours after an inquest was told that 28-year-old Natasha Johnston died of “multiple penetrating bites” to her neck after being mauled by eight dogs she was walking in a Surrey beauty spot on 12 January.