Dog owners Hayley Sulley, 30, and Della Woods, 29.
Dog owners Hayley Sulley, 30, and Della Woods, 29.

Women jailed after old man 'eaten alive' by starving dog

TWO women have been jailed for 12 months over the death of their elderly neighbour, who was "literally eaten alive" by their starving dog.

Liverpool Crown Court heard that retired hospital porter Clifford Clark, 79, was mauled to death by the presa canario cross-breed in his own garden after leaving his kitchen door open while cooking dinner.

The dog, which was shot dead by police, hadn't been fed in 45 hours and had resorted to eating plastic bowls, cigarette butts, and drinking dirty water.

Owners Hayley Sulley, 30, and Della Woods, 29, of Norris Green in Liverpool were jailed for 12 months after they admitted to allowing Charlie to enter a place it was not allowed and where it injured a person.

They had left their three dogs home alone as they attended a barbeque.

They also admitted to three offences of causing the dog unnecessary suffering.

"Snarling" and "foaming at the mouth", according to one terrified neighbour, Charlie's violent attack of Mr Clarke left one of the pensioner's arms amputated and the other "hanging by a thread."

Mr Clarke reportedly yelled, "Get off of me" as he was massacred. When police arrived, the dog was so crazed he tried to bite the end of one of their rifles, and, once shot, got up and tried to attack again.

One officer described the incident as "the worst thing I have ever seen".

The dog was said to have ingested large amounts of tissues, with Judge Brown saying that Mr Clarke had "literally been eaten alive".

Mr Clarke, an athlete in his younger days, had celebrated his birthday the night before his death.

"Mr Clarke suffered a horrific death and you have taken away from his family the love and companionship he would have provided," Judge Brown told Ms Sulley and Ms Woods.

He concluded "I am satisfied this dreadful and forceful attack on Mr Clarke was entirely avoidable."

The judge has also banned them from ever owning dogs again.

Gary Simpson, senior crown prosecutor with the Mersey-Cheshire Crown Prosecution Service, said: "This was a vicious attack on a defenceless man who was powerless to fight back against this large and powerful dog.

"The guilty pleas of these two women have thankfully brought this case to a relatively speedy conclusion and have saved Mr Clarke's relatives the ordeal of a trial.

"Hayley Sulley and Della Woods were both responsible for the dog's welfare and behaviour on that fateful day. Their failure to make sure the dog was cared for and under control has led to a man's death and they must now come to terms with that. Our thoughts are with the family of Mr Clarke at this sad time."

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