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Last Updated: Tuesday, 4 September 2007, 18:32 GMT 19:32 UK
Killer dog was 'jealous' of Ellie
Ellie Lawrenson
Ellie suffered severe head and neck injuries
The mother of a five-year-old girl who was mauled to death by a pit bull terrier has told a court how the dog was "jealous of her and hated her".

Lindsey Simpson, 25, told the jury at Liverpool Crown Court it was jealous of her daughter because it was not allowed in the house when she visited.

Ellie Lawrenson died in the attack at her grandmother Jackie Simpson's home in St Helens, on New Year's Day.

Jackie Simpson denies the charge of manslaughter through gross negligence.

Jackie's daughter, Lindsey, told the jury the dog, called Reuben, would be outside whenever her daughter visited the home in Knowles House Avenue.

Impending birth

She said: "I used to look through the windows and say, 'Never let this dog get in the house.'"

I used to look through the windows and say 'Never let this dog get in the house'
Lindsey Simpson, Ellie's mother

"It would look in and I could see it was jealous because it was outside and she was in.

"It was common knowledge for the dog not to come in. Everybody knew what it could do if it got a child."

The court was told Ms Simpson, who has another child, Joshua, had said she wanted the dog to leave the house well before he mauled Ellie.

She said she used Joshua's impending birth in September 2006 to force the family to get rid of the dog because she did not want it around her children.

Banished outside

She told the jury: "I couldn't wait for Josh to be born because it wasn't coming in the house again - I hated the dog."

As her mother sat in the dock weeping, Ms Simpson added there was no reason to tell her mother to keep the dog away from Ellie on New Year's Eve.

She knew the rule and had a hand in making it, she told the court.

Jacqueline Simpson
Mrs Simpson denies manslaughter through gross negligence

"The decision was made by me, mum, Kiel, Kelsey and Darren that when Josh was born the dog would be in the garden," she said.

"Every time we went through the back door we would make sure the door was locked and the key out because Ellie loved the dog and the key would be out of her reach.

"Mum agreed to that arrangement."

The court has heard how Jackie Simpson, 45, had taken drugs and alcohol on the day that Ellie was killed.

'Just evil'

The youngster, who used to put her arms around the dog and hug him when he was a puppy, suffered 72 injuries when the dog locked its jaws around her throat and shook her in the fatal attack.

The dog, who was later shot by police, was described in court by Ellie's father, Darren Lawrenson, as "evil".

"Its eyes were just evil, anyone who came into contact with it would say it looked evil," the 31-year-old self-employed leaflet distributor told the court.

He referred to Jackie Simpson as "stupid" and said he wanted people to know she was to blame for Ellie's death.

"Without doubt she ended Ellie's life", he told the court.

The trial was adjourned until Wednesday.

Home footage of the pitbull

Grandmother 'let in' killer dog
03 Sep 07 |  Merseyside

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