Grandmother mauled to death by two 'unregistered XL Bullies' in Essex named after man, 39, arrested

4 February 2024, 12:12 | Updated: 4 February 2024, 15:16

The grandmother was killed in a dog attack
The grandmother was killed in a dog attack. Picture: Essex Police/Handout

By Will Taylor

A grandmother who died after being attacked by two dogs in Essex has been named as Esther Martin.

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The 68-year-old was visiting her 11-year-old grandson when she was attacked by two pets her daughter said were now-banned XL Bullies.

Brave members of the public tried to intervene to save her from the animals.

A man aged 39 has been arrested and Essex Police said there is a "familial relationship" between him and Ms Martin.

Officers rushed to the scene in Hillman Avenue, Jaywick, at about 4pm and found her seriously injured. She died at the scene.

Essex Police said detectives believe she was attacked by two dogs, who have been destroyed. The force did not reveal the breed.

But Sonia Martin said her mother, from Woodford Green in London, was attacked by XL Bullies and had previously told their owner they were dangerous.

Read more: XL Bully owner says lack of checks on banned breed risks granting ‘out of control’ dogs exemption certificate

Ms Martin was mauled to death by two dogs
Ms Martin was mauled to death by two dogs. Picture: Handout
XL Bullies are now banned with strict conditions in England and Wales
XL Bullies are now banned with strict conditions in England and Wales. Picture: Alamy

She told MailOnline: "They were XL Bullies. There were eight of them in the house, six puppies and two adults. None of them neutered, not registered.

"The owner's words were "no one is going to tell me what to do with my own f*****g dogs."

"Mum had raised concerns about the dogs, over their breed and their temperament.

"Her grandson was in the house. He came running out shouting for help.

"We would like to thank all the neighbours who tried to help our mum."

Police found the grandmother seriously injured and she died at the scene
Police found the grandmother seriously injured and she died at the scene. Picture: Essex Police

Police arrested the 39-year-old man from Jaywick on suspicion of dangerous dog offences.

Essex Police's Chief Superintendent Glen Pavelin said police were still working to establish the breed.

"When six police officers entered the house, their priority was, as always, to keep their community safe," he said.

"Their unflinching bravery and professionalism ensured that there is no ongoing threat to the people of Essex, both dogs were destroyed inside the house.

"I would also like to thank local people who tried to get into the house to help Esther Martin, you should be proud."

He said earlier on Sunday: "My thoughts, and those of our officers and staff, are with the family of the woman who died yesterday.

"This incident will be a huge shock to the community and I understand their concerns.

"We’ll have officers in the area throughout today so please come and speak to them if you have any information or are worried.

Read more: Fears more than 10,000 XL Bullies still unregistered as ban on dangerous breed kicks in

"Experienced detectives are leading the investigation to identify exactly what has happened.

"I know there will be speculation about the breed of the dogs involved. We’re waiting for confirmation from experts about this before releasing further details and I’d ask people not to speculate.

"If anyone has any information about what has happened please contact us."

Police asked witness or those with CCTV or dashcam footage to get in touch using incident reference 723 of 3 February.

A spate of deadly attacks led to XL Bullies being banned.

Owners need a certificate of exemption to keep their pets in England and Wales, and that comes with a raft of conditions.

The dogs have to be neutered, kept on a lead and muzzled when in public, and securely kept so they cannot escape.

There have been fears that as many as 10,000 XL Bullies could still be unregistered after the ban kicked in.