'People complain about the dogs; it's not the dogs,' claims family of grandmother, 68, mauled to death by 'XL Bullies'

5 February 2024, 14:22 | Updated: 5 February 2024, 16:20

'People complain [about] the dogs; it's not the dogs' claims family of grandmother, 68, mauled to death by 'XL Bullies'
'People complain [about] the dogs; it's not the dogs' claims family of grandmother, 68, mauled to death by 'XL Bullies'. Picture: Alamy / Facebook

By Danielle De Wolfe and Gina Davidson

The family of a grandmother mauled to death by two 'XL Bullies' have said the dogs aren't to blame for her death, instead pointing the finger of blame at the pets' living conditions.

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Esther Martin, 68, was visiting her 11-year-old grandson when she was attacked by the two dogs, which her daughter said were XL Bullies.

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

The two “XL Bullies” were owned by wannabe drill rapper Ashley Warren, 39, who goes by the stage name Wyless Man.

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.

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.

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

Police are currently working to identify the exact breed of dog involved.

The dogs have both since been destroyed.

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

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 and found Esther seriously injured. She died at the scene.

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

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

Police said they had arrested a man, 39, on suspicion of dangerous dog offences. He was bailed today.

Esther’s son Paul, 45, told The Sun: “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.

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.

"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

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
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

"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 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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