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Last Updated: Wednesday, 16 May 2007, 11:38 GMT 12:38 UK
Uncle jailed for owning death dog
Ellie Lawrenson
Ellie died in the attack on New Year's Day

The owner of a dog that mauled to death the man's five-year-old niece has been jailed for eight weeks at Liverpool Magistrates' Court.

Ellie Lawrenson died when she was attacked by a pit bull terrier-type dog at her grandmother's home in St Helens in the early hours of New Year's Day.

Kiel Simpson, 23, pleaded guilty last month to owning a dog banned under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991.

The maximum penalty under the act is a six-month prison term or a 5,000 fine.

'Morally responsible'

At an earlier hearing the court had heard that the dog had been banished from the house which he shared with his mother in Knowles House Avenue, Eccleston, after biting Kiel Simpson's 19-year-old sister Kelsey on 21 November.

Miss Simpson needed hospital treatment for puncture wounds to her thigh after the unprovoked attack.

Kiel Simpson
Ellie's uncle was jailed for eight weeks

Mr Fogarty, defending, had told the court that his client had made efforts to give the dog to someone else after the attack on his sister.

He also said that Simpson had left instructions for the dog to be left outside the house, but this had not happened.

Mr Fogarty added that Simpson felt "morally responsible" for the death of Ellie and that he "wanted to crawl into a hole".

However, District Judge Alan Jones told Simpson he did not accept the mitigating argument that he had been given official advice that he could keep the dog or that he had instructed his family to leave the animal outside.

This is a dog of a type nobody has been allowed to possess for the last 15 years, and for good reason
District Judge Alan Jones

He said: "I don't accept that a police officer or any person giving advice would have said it was enough to keep the dog muzzled and on a lead in public if you properly told them what type of dog it was.

"This is a dog of a type nobody has been allowed to possess for the last 15 years, and for good reason.

"They are capable of inflicting serious injuries to any able-bodied person.

"That a young child suffered such a tragic attack was something which was foreseeable, particularly because the dog was especially fit and had already behaved aggressively to another member of the family.

"It is not enough to absolve you of responsibility that you left the dog with instructions that it should not be left inside the house."

Grandmother charged

In April, Simpson's mother, Jacqueline Simpson, 46, was charged with the unlawful killing of Ellie. She was also charged with possessing heroin.

She was bailed until 10 August and a provisional trial date has been set for 3 September.

Ellie suffered fatal head and neck injuries in the attack at the house in Knowles House Avenue, in Eccleston, on New Year's Day.

The dog which attacked her was destroyed at the scene by Merseyside Police.


VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Kiel Simpson jailed for eight weeks



SEE ALSO
Uncle admits owning dangerous dog
25 Apr 07 |  Merseyside
Dog attack accused pair in court
11 Apr 07 |  Merseyside
Relative charged over Ellie death
03 Apr 07 |  Merseyside

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