'He was only 8st and didnt stand a chance': Tributes to dog walker, 54, 'murdered' in XL Bully attack

5 October 2023, 08:59 | Updated: 5 October 2023, 14:02

Ian Langley died on Tuesday
Ian Langley died on Tuesday. Picture: Facebook/LBC

By Kit Heren

The man killed by an XL Bully in Sunderland "only weighed eight stone" and stood no chance against the dog, a friend has said.

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Ian Langley died in hospital overnight on Tuesday after the dog attack that evening, which left him with multiple injuries.

Known affectionately by friends and family as 'Scouse', Ian was attacked outside his home in Sunderland while he was walking his Patterdale terrier puppy Beau.

A murder investigation has been launched after the dog attack. The dog was destroyed at the scene. Police said they believe it was an XL Bully, the breed that the government is taking steps to ban.

A second dog, also an XL Bully, was seized by police.

Read more: Man dies after being mauled by XL Bully in Sunderland as dog's 'owner' arrested on suspicion of murder

Read more: 'Devastated' friends pay tribute to 'kind' dad-of-one mauled by XL Bully 'while walking beloved puppy'

Ian Langley
Ian Langley. Picture: Facebook

A man, 44, was initially arrested on suspicion of GBH but was re-arrested on suspicion of murder and is being held in custody.

Mr Langley's neighbour of 20 years, Michael Kennedy, said he was "a lovable rogue" and "a really nice lad".

He added: "That lad must have been eight stone, he seemed malnourished and was not looking after himself.

"I was worried about him, telling him to look after himself and be careful. He used to go to the church every Tuesday, where people go to help each other out," Mr Kennedy told the Liverpool Echo.

"My mam goes and every time I saw him he would ask after her. He was a very caring fella... I don't want his name to be tarnished, he doesn't deserve that. I am heartbroken.

The dog attack took place in Sunderland
The dog attack took place in Sunderland. Picture: LBC

"He never did any harm, he was not a violent person, he wasn't a hard man, he wasn't the type to go looking for trouble. He was really thin, he would have no chance against a big dog."

After Mr Langley's death, a dog behaviour expert called for a more joined-up policy from the government, including more policing and a stronger set of rules for dog owners.

Animal behaviourist Hannah Molloy speaks to Nick Ferrari about XL Bullies

Hannah Molloy, an animal behaviourist at Amplified Behaviour, told LBC's Nick Ferrari that poorer areas have a higher rate of dog attacks.

She added that in contrast to news reports of people being attacked on the streets, said that most people are getting bitten at home and are "getting bitten by dogs they know".

Ms Molloy also said that she thought the XL bully ban would not be effective, because people would just breed other kinds of dangerous dog.

XL Bully owner says there is a 'real issue' with these dogs

Tributes from friends and family came in for Mr Langley after his death.

"It's absolutely devastating that this has happened to him, he is a lovely, kind man," a friend, Rachael Barron, 31, said.

"He's very slight of build and could not hurt a fly, he would have stood no chance against a dog as big as that, it makes me feel sick to think about it.

"I don't know exactly what has happened but if another dog was trying to get at Beau, Scouse would have done anything to protect him.

"We have been devastated, I haven't even been able to tell the kids yet, they will be so upset. Everyone knew and liked him, he was a lovely guy."

Another friend said: "He didn’t deserve to die. He was a canny lad. He was friendly. It’s a tragedy."

Detective Chief Inspector Angela Hudson, of Northumbria Police, said: “First and foremost, I would like to extend my sincere condolences to the man’s family and loved ones.

"This is an absolutely tragic incident, and we will continue to offer them support in any way that we can.“A full investigation has been launched to determine the circumstances of what has happened.

"I would like to reassure the wider community that there is no ongoing risk to them, and officers will remain in the area to offer reassurance and carry out enquiries.

"While our investigation is at an early stage, we do believe those involved were known to each other.

"I would also continue to ask people not to speculate about the incident online, including on social media, while enquiries are ongoing."

Anyone with information can call 101 quoting reference number NP-20231003-0979.