Developing

Family 'Disgusted' By Dog Death Sentence

The family of a 14-year-old girl savaged to death by four dogs have said they are "disgusted" after the owner walked free from court with a suspended sentence.

Beverley Concannon admitted causing unnecessary suffering to the four dogs, which killed Jade Lomas-Anderson in March.

The teenager died after she was attacked by two bull mastiffs and two Staffordshire bull terriers in Wigan, Greater Manchester.

The dogs turned on her while she was visiting the 45-year-old's daughter, and armed police were later forced to kill the animals.

Jade suffered "horrific" injuries "from head to toe" and a policeman told Wigan Magistrates' Court he found the dogs covered in blood.

The judge said Concannon, who is on benefits, had subjected the animals to "prolonged neglect" and that she should have been aware of the dogs' aggressive behaviour.

The court heard that the distressed animals were cooped up together in the house and had become "hyper aggressive".

One of the dogs, an American bull mastiff described as "stir crazy", was kept in a cage not big enough for it to raise its head or turn around properly.

Neighbours said they had complained to the council about the way the dogs were kept, as well as their barking, but Concannon was allowed to keep the animals.

Speaking outside court, Jade's stepfather Michael told reporters that the family had been let down.

He said: "I'm devastated and disgusted in the justice system.

"Today was just about dangerous dogs. I think she should be held responsible for Jade.

"We have got a life sentence. It has absolutely ripped us apart."

District Judge Mark Hadfield said Concannon's 16-week sentence could be suspended for one year because she had pleaded guilty, had no previous convictions, was the sole carer of her daughter and had expressed remorse for the attack.

She was also disqualified from owning and keeping dogs indefinitely.

The Crown Prosecution Service had said there was not enough evidence to bring a charge of manslaughter.

It also said it could not bring charges under the Dangerous Dogs Act because the dogs were not banned breeds and were not out of control in a public place.

Jade's family want the Government to tighten dangerous dogs laws.

The Dangerous Dogs (Amendment) Bill is currently being examined by Parliament.

It aims to remove the immunity from prosecution of dog owners whose animal attacks someone on private property, such as inside their home.

The plans, for England and Wales, are designed to protect people who visit houses as part of their job, such as postmen, utility workers and healthcare employees.