Officers who found mauled 10-year-old Jack Lis haunted by fatal dog attack

Two heroic police officers have described the moment they faced down an XL Bully dog that killed a 10-year-old boy in Caerphilly.

The whole of the UK was shocked by the horrific incident in 2021 when little boy Jack Lis was killed by a dog called Beast. You can read the story of the incident here.

On the day in question two selfless cops risked their own lives as the tried to save Jack from the house in which he was trapped. PS Ross Phillips and PS Isabelle Coulson from Gwent Police were recognised for their bravery by being nominated for the St David's Awards.

Jack Lis, 10, who died in a dog attack in Caerphilly
Jack Lis -Credit:Gwent Police

READ MORE: The story of the little boy left alone with a muscular, dangerous dog

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The first responding officers in November 2021 have told their story of what they saw that day saying that a day doesn't go past when they don't think about it.

PS Ross Phillips bravely entered the house containing a dangerous dog
PS Ross Phillips bravely entered the house containing a dangerous dog -Credit:St David's Awards
PS Isabelle Coulson distracted the dog so Jack could be taken out of the house
PS Isabelle Coulson distracted the dog so Jack could be taken out of the house -Credit:St David's Awards

"As we turned into the street there must have over 100 people in the street all shouting and screaming and pointing towards the house," said PS Coulson.

PS Ross Phillips added: "When I got to the door, it was clear the dog was just behind the door. I was able to open the door and I could see Jack was just inside as well."

It was clearly very dangerous to open the door so officer Coulson tried to draw the dogs attention. She said: "I went to the kitchen window to try and distract the dog from the front door so we could open the door to see what was going on.

"Then this huge dog appeared in the window. I did take a step back because I was petrified, it was so big. I knew something serious had happened because of the dog."


While this was going on PS Ross Phillips went inside. "Issy distracted the dog, so I was able to enter and bring Jack out," he said. " I managed to hand Jack over to the paramedic. The dog tried to get out but I was able to position myself to block him. He was a very large dog, I had to pull him back in and I was able to close the door."

Tragically, Jack died of his injuries. Understandably, such a traumatic incident continues to haunt the pair. PS Phillips explained: "I’ve been in the police now nearly 20 years, been to a lot of different incidents, but I would say this is one of the most difficult I have ever had to deal with.

"I don't think there has been a day really that’s gone by where I haven’t thought about that incident at some point. I think of Jack, I think about his family and the horrendous tragedy that they’ve been through."

PS Coulson added: "As a police officer, if I had another call like that I would do exactly the same again and out myself in that position in order to try and protect the public.."

In the subsequent court case Jack Lis' mother Emma Whitfield said: "It’s obvious to say that since the day this happened my life and my family’s life will never be the same again. I’m his mum, and no mum should ever have the last images of their child as being dragged from a house, knowing deep down they’re gone by praying that it isn’t so. No mum should ever have to see paramedics walking away from their son because nothing can be done.

“I close my eyes, I see the animal and its teeth. I hear the barking. I have severe panic attacks and I have horrifying flashbacks. Several times a day I am put straight back to that place. I relive the nightmare multiple times."

Those responsible for the dog, Brandon Hayden, 19 and Amy Salter, 29, both received custodial sentences.

Hayden pleaded guilty to being the owner of a dog which caused injury resulting in death while dangerously out of control, two counts of being the owner of a dog which caused injury while dangerously out of control in a public place and three counts of being the owner in charge of a dog dangerously out of control. Salter pleaded guilty to being in charge of a dog which caused serious injury resulting in death.

Hayden was sentenced to four years and six months detention in a young offenders' institute and Salter was sentenced to three years imprisonment. Both were disqualified from owning or keeping a dog indefinitely.