Killer dog that mauled boy, 9, to death while mum boozed had attacked another kid just months before

Killer dog that mauled boy, 9, to death while mum boozed had attacked another kid just months before

September 29, 2021

A KILLER DOG that mauled a nine-year-old boy to death while his mum drank and took drugs had attacked another child just five months before.

Frankie Macritchie was killed by a 100lb American bulldog-cross after his mum Tawnee Willis left him alone to party with pals.

The powerless schoolboy died after suffering 54 injuries and massive blood loss after the beast pounced on him at a caravan site in Looe, Cornwall on April 13, 2019.

A coroner has now ruled little Frankie's death could have been avoided after the brutal dog was previously reported to the police.

Officers had spoken to the dog's owner, Sarah Totterdell, about a previous incident in 2016 when the dog "threatened a woman", senior coroner Andrew Cox revealed.

And the mum of another young boy had also spoken to the owner about the dangerous pet in 2018 after it bit her son and required hospital treatment.

Cox said: "The obvious concern that came out of the inquest was that, had the incidents in 2016 being investigated differently, this tragic outcome could have been avoided."

And he has now warned "there is a risk that future deaths will occur unless action is taken".

In his prevention of future deaths report, Cox said: "Frankie was left unsupervised with the dog in the early hours of 13 April by his mother.

"He was attacked by the dog and died from the injuries he suffered. 

"Subsequent investigations by the police have revealed the dog was involved in two incidents in October 2016 and a further incident in August 2018 when a child was bitten. 

"While both incidents in 2016 were reported to police, it is believed that the incident in 2018 was not.

"During the course of the inquest the evidence revealed matters giving rise to concern. In my opinion there is a risk that future deaths will occur unless action is taken."

Willis claimed she had checked on her son at least four or five times on the fateful night while she joined pals for a drink in a neighbouring caravan after drinking in the park's social club.

But the now 31-year-old had also been snorting cocaine while Frankie was left alone with the "extremely powerful "animal, a Crown Court judge previously heard.

Willis horrifically found her son's butchered body on the floor.


Frankie's dad Billy MacRitchie, who wasn't on the holiday, shared a heartbreaking tribute to his son at the time saying his "world has shattered into a million pieces" after his death.

Willis was jailed for two years in June 2020 after admitting child neglect at Truro Crown Court. She has since been released from prison.

She told her son's inquest: "I am truly, truly sorry. I miss him every day.

"I know their heart breaks, mine does too. I know nothing I can do will change what happened.

"I'm sorry my selfish actions have caused them so much heartache.

"From the bottom of my heart, I wish they can find some closure and find some peace."

The dog's owner Totterdell, 29, was caged for three years after she admitted being the person in charge of a dog dangerously out of control causing injury resulting in death.

She was banned from keeping dogs for ten years and Winston was later put to sleep.

The coroner said he would write to the police regarding the dog's previous outbursts to ensure they had improved their handling of similar cases.

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