Great-gran mauled to death by neighbour's dogs was looking forward to birthday reunion with her family next week

A GREAT-gran killed by dogs was excited for her birthday reunion with family next week, neighbours revealed.

Lucille Downer, 85, was "dragged round her garden" by two pitbull-type dogs on Good Friday after they rushed in through a hole in the fence of herhome.

The 85-year-old, who suffered from dementia and had spent most of lockdown isolated, had been looking forward to seeing her family on Wednesday to mark turning 86. 

Neighbours say her daughter, who lived opposite, had planned a small get-together in the garden of her home in Rowley Regis, West Midlands. 

“It’s absolutely heartbreaking and the family are in pieces,” the neighbour said. 

“They’d planned to be together next week and have a little celebration in the garden if the weather was nice with cake and some party food. 

"Now they are having to plan a funeral. Nobody can believe or comprehend what's happened."

In a statement her family said: "Lucille was a mother, grandmother and great-grandmother who spent her working years as a cook at Bromford House Care Home in West Bromwich.  

"Lucille was born in Jamaica and emigrated to the UK in her early 20s.

"Since arriving in the UK, Rowley Regis has always been her home and her family will miss her dearly."

Locals said she lived alone after losing her husband, but her daughter who lives opposite was “always on hand to help out".

One neighbour said: “She was a lovely lady, she used to work as a cook before retiring and had lived there for fifty years or more.

"We hadn’t seen her much in the past year because of Covid restrictions but what’s happened has shocked everyone in the street. It was horrific.

“She’s has three children, two sons and a daughter but one of her daughters sadly died from an asthma attack about 10 years ago."

Another told The Sun: "The poor woman was dragged around the garden. Her injuries were on her neck. 

"They mauled her neck. It's just horrendous. The dogs managed to escape through into her garden."

A stunned neighbour added: "Apparently they went for her throat like a dog would with a toy."

Police confirmed the dogs had been "humanely destroyed" after ownership was voluntarily transferred to officers and a conclusion made they could never be rehomed.

Speaking at a press conference yesterday, Superintendent Phil Asquith said: "Our officers attended, by which point the dogs had returned through a hole in the fence to the adjacent property and then, unfortunately, despite the best efforts of medical professionals, that lady died at the scene."

It’s just horrific what’s happened and we’re so shocked if she’s an elderly lady in her 80s she would have stood no chance.

An RSPCA spokesperson said: “This sounds really distressing and our thoughts are with the family involved.

“We are unable to comment on complaints about individuals or what action may or may not have been taken for legal reasons but we would like to reassure people we will always respond to concerns reported to us about animal welfare.

“We always have to act within the law and take appropriate action based on the information and evidence we have.”

One person claimed they had seen the dogs being walked before and "seemed to be well behaved".

A neighbour who didn’t want to be named added: “We just came at around 4pm and there were just so many police cars and everything blocking the road. 

“We never heard anything that happened and I’m not sure who actually lives there. 

“But I do know the neighbour had two dogs which lived at the address. It’s just terrible what’s happened.”


Another neighbour said: “I think from what I’ve heard there was a broken fence and they’ve escaped through to there and mauled her to death. 

“It’s just horrible what’s happened I didn’t know her personally but it’s terrible.”

A 43-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of being the person in charge of a dog dangerously out of control and death is caused.

He has been bailed pending further inquiries after being quizzed by cops.

Armed police were at the scene, and a dog was seen being carried from a house.

Cops said: "A police scene and presence will remain in place in the area as we work to establish the full circumstances of what happened.

"Our thoughts are with the family and friends of the woman at this deeply distressing time."

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