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Monday, 16 July, 2001, 16:44 GMT 17:44 UK
Terrier saves woman from rape
jack russell
'Animals know what is right and wrong'
A court has heard how a jack russell terrier called Sukie saved its owner by biting into the leg of a man who was sexually assaulting her.

Sue Gummerson, 52, from Wigan, Greater Manchester, was being assaulted by Andrew Makin, 35, when the dog sank its teeth into his leg and clung on.

Makin tried to kick it off, but eventually he had to give up and flee.

At Bolton Crown Court he was sentenced to three years in jail.

Growling dog

Mrs Gummerson said: "Sukie is wonderful and there is no doubt she saved me from something far, far worse."

The ex-Samaritan waived her right to anonymity in order to inspire other sex attack victims.

The assault happened in her home last October while her husband and 92-year-old aunt were both asleep.

Sukie grabbed his leg and never gave up despite the kickings

Sue Gummerson, attack victim
Makin, who lived yards away from his victim, bluffed his way into her house by saying he was a friend of her son David.

He knew David's name because both men drank in the same pub.

Mrs Gummerson told the court: "I began to quiz him about how he knew David, but he could not give me any specific details.

"Sukie was sitting beside me and growling.

"He said 'That dog doesn't like me does it?' and I laughed."

'I pleaded'

The court had heard how Makin then attacked her in the kitchen, where she had gone to pour him a glass of water, in order to keep him calm.

Mrs Gummerson said: "The force knocked all the switches on the hobs on.

"He was like a savage monster... I pleaded with him, and asked him the think of his mother, but he said 'My mother's dead.'

"Sukie grabbed his leg and never gave up despite the kickings.

Glass tumbler

"Animals know what is right and wrong... perhaps she remembered what I had done for her," she added.

Sukie had been taken off the street by Mrs Gummerson two years earlier.

Makin, of Long Lane, was arrested two months after the attack.

Detectives matched his DNA to samples taken from the glass tumbler he drank from at the victim's home.

'Caused terror'

He pleaded guilty to sexual assault.

Passing sentence Judge Gillian Ruaux told Makin: " The terror you caused that lady should not be minimised... you appear to have no insight into the offence."

In mitigation, defence counsel Mr Thomas Fitzpatrick said Makin committed the offence when he had difficulties with his wife.

See also:

13 Jul 01 | Americas
Three years for road-rage dog killer
09 Jul 01 | UK
Couple admit animal cruelty
29 Jun 01 | UK
Be a dog for a day
28 Jun 01 | Europe
Tree-hungry dog gives owner stick
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