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‘Unflinching bravery’ of police and public praised as woman savaged by dogs

A senior policeman has praised officers and members of the public for their “unflinching bravery” as they attempted to save a 68-year-old grandmother who was savaged to death by two dogs.

Essex Police said Esther Martin, from Woodford Green in London, was attacked at a property in Hillman Avenue in Jaywick on Saturday afternoon.

Police arrived “within minutes” but despite the efforts of six officers as well as by members of the public, Ms Martin, who was visiting her 11-year-old grandson, died at the scene.

Chief Superintendent Glen Pavelin, of Essex Police, told reporters outside Clacton police station there was a “familial relationship” between the victim and a 39-year-old man arrested on suspicion of dangerous dog offences.

He said: “I want to express my condolences to her family and friends, and we’ve got specially-trained officers supporting them.”

Paying tribute to officers and local residents, he said: “When six police officers entered the house, their priority was, as always, to keep their community safe.

“Their unflinching bravery and professionalism ensured that there is no ongoing threat to the people of Essex, both dogs were destroyed inside the house.

“I would also like to thank local people who tried to get into the house to help Esther Martin, you should be proud.”

The victim’s daughter, Sonia Martin, from Chesterfield, told MailOnline the dogs involved were XL bullies, a breed banned by the Government from the start of this month.

Police tape at scene
Police at the scene of the incident in Jaywick, Essex (Essex Police/PA)

She said: “They were XL bullies. There were eight of them in the house, six puppies and two adults.

“Her grandson was in the house. He came running out shouting for help. We would like to thank all the neighbours who tried to help our mum.”

Mr Pavelin declined to comment on the breed of the dogs.

He said: “I know there is speculation about the breed of the dogs involved and we are working with experts to establish this.

“I would ask you not to speculate, we will establish the facts and we will keep the community of Jaywick updated.”

He added he had not been informed of any information about previous complaints made about the dogs involved in the incident.

Mr Pavelin said the suspect, who is from Jaywick, remains in custody for questioning.

Lucy Shaw, 38, who lives in a property behind the address, told the PA news agency she heard screaming for about 10 minutes.

She said: “We went out into the garden and it was all quiet and then we heard dogs barking, and then we heard someone screaming.

“It seemed like the screaming of a child. That went on for about 10 minutes.

“We went back in after a while because it sounded horrific.”

Dog attack in Jaywick
The police cordon in Hillman Avenue, Jaywick (Gwyn Wright/PA)

Mike Coleman, 74, who lives a few doors down, said he saw a man come down the road to the address and start shouting.

He said: “He is really shouting and hallowing, he was really, really loud. Then he starts whacking at the windows. He appeared panicked.

“He said ‘phone the police’. My wife phoned them but they said they had someone else on the phone.

“Minutes later the police came – two cars, then three then five, and then they blocked the road off.

“I heard the shots of them being destroyed, then that was it.”

His wife Julie Coleman, 67, said: “When I went down to see what was going on, he said there was a lady inside the property who was being attacked by two dogs.

“He said he had got a phone call to go and check on this lady.

“He was very stressed, very agitated, very verbal and quite concerned.

“He was hallowing and shouting ‘they’re XL bullies’, but I just don’t know (what breed they were).”