Two dogs that mauled and killed grandmother, 68, were XL bullies, police confirm

9 February 2024, 12:20 | Updated: 9 February 2024, 12:40

The dogs that killed Esther Martin were XL bullies.
The dogs that killed Esther Martin were XL bullies. Picture: Handout

By Jenny Medlicott

The two dogs that mauled a 68-year-old grandmother to death were XL bullies, police have confirmed.

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Essex police confirmed the breed of the dogs in a statement on Friday.

It read: "We can now confirm that both dogs involved in the fatal attack on Esther Martin in Jaywick at the weekend were XL Bullies.

"Esther, 68, was fatally injured at an address in Hillman Avenue. Two dogs were destroyed at the property by specialist officers."

Police said post-mortem examinations carried out on the dogs confirmed they were XL bullies.

Chief Superintendent Stuart Weaver said in statement on Friday: "I know there has been a huge amount of speculation about the breed and type of dog involved here, but it was really important we got that information right and established the facts.

“We owe it to Esther and her family to ensure we are thorough, professional and, above all, fair.

“XL Bully is not a breed of dog in itself, but a sub-category of the American Bully and identifying categories of a breed can be a complex process.

"A team of experienced detectives are continuing their investigation into Esther’s death and continue to make good progress.

“They are committed to getting the answers her family need about what happened and why."

Warren said: “If my dogs did that to her, when I had never seen anything but love from them, then that breed just has a killer switch."
Warren said: “If my dogs did that to her, when I had never seen anything but love from them, then that breed just has a killer switch.". Picture: Facebook / Ashley Warren

Esther had been visiting her 11-year-old grandson at a home in Jaywick near Clacton-on-Sea on Saturday when she was attacked.

The dogs — called Bear and Beauty — were owned by aspiring rapper Ashley Warren, 39, who goes by the stage name Wyless Man.

Warren has since called for the eradication of the breed following the death of Esther Martin, who was looking after her 11-year-old grandson when she was attacked by the two dogs.

Warren, from Jaywick, Essex, said: “Never in a million years did I see [the dogs] as a risk.

“If my dogs did that to her, when I had never seen anything but love from them, then that breed just has a killer switch."

The grandmother is believed to have been looking after her grandson at Warren's home while he visited London to film a music video.

“I honestly thought the ban was a stupid government plan to wipe out a breed which I had never seen anything but softness and love from," Warren told The Sun.

“Now I think they need to be wiped out.

“Esther meant everything to my son and everything to me. I’m sorry for everyone’s loss, from the bottom of my heart.”

It comes as the grandmother's wider family said the dogs 'aren't to blame' for her death, instead blaming the pets' living conditions.

"People complain [about] the dogs; it's not the dogs", her family said following the grandmother's death.

Warren is said to have yelled "don’t tell me what to do with my f***ing dogs," following the attack, a relative said.

It follows claims by Ms Martin's daughter, Sonia Martin, 47, that the animals were unregistered XL bully dogs.

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

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

Warren recently posted a photo to social media explaining his 'XL Bully' had puppies that were up for sale
Warren recently posted a photo to social media explaining his 'XL Bully' had puppies that were up for sale. Picture: Facebook / Ashley Warren

Ms Martin voiced concerns that the dogs had been "kept penned in a small chalet", according to the BBC, adding: "How the hell can that be any good for an animal?"

Brave members of the public tried to intervene to save her life but she was pronounced dead at the scene at around 4pm on Saturday.

One family member who left flowers at the scene said the dogs were XL Bullies and that Warren opposed new rules about the dogs.

Ms Martin was mauled to death by two dogs
Ms Martin was mauled to death by two dogs. Picture: Handout

Esther’s daughter Sonia, 47, claimed he had even said: “Don’t tell me what to do with my own f***ing dogs” when the regulations were brought in.

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

Police said they had arrested a man, 39, on suspicion of dangerous dog offences. He has been bailed until March 5.

Esther’s son Paul, 45, said “She came to visit her grandson.

“The owner of the bullies decided to go out and leave mum with six XL Bully puppies and two adults.

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

However, Warren's grandmother, 76-year-old Carol Stotter, has jumped to his defence, saying that her son never bred the dogs to be sold and that the female dog became pregnant - which was "not planned".

She added that the dogs had never been aggressive but their behaviour changed once the six puppies were born.

In addition, his mother tearfully told The Sun that Warren wanted to give away the puppies to "good homes" but struggled with the XL Bully regulations.

Essex Police's Chief Superintendent Glen Pavelin praised people who rushed to try and help Esther.

He said: "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 was no ongoing threat to the people of Essex, both dogs were destroyed inside the house".

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

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 asked witnesses 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.

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