Essex

Archie Darby dog attack: Mum praised for bravery

Archie Darby and Daniel-Jay Darby Image copyright Family photo
Image caption Archie Darby (left) died after a dog snatched him from his mother's arms

A mother who tried to fight off a dog that mauled her four-month-old son to death and seriously injured his brother has been praised for her bravery.

Archie Darby was snatched from Jade Rogers' arms as she tried to stop the Staffordshire bull terrier-type dog from attacking her other son.

Four-month-old Archie died and 22-month-old Daniel-Jay was badly hurt at their home in Colchester on 13 October.

Police told an inquest Miss Rogers had done a "heroic job".

'I can save him'

She barricaded the dog, owned by the boys' police officer aunt, inside a conservatory and held the door shut to prevent it from getting out.

Recording an accidental death conclusion, coroner Eleanor McGann also praised Miss Rogers for her "bravery" in fighting off the aggressive animal during the attack.

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In a statement to police, Miss Rogers said she had been speaking to her partner on Facetime when the dog, named Bailey, had "growled and immediately attacked" Daniel-Jay.

She was trying to pull the dog away from her older son when it grabbed Archie and shook him around the room, causing fatal head injuries..

"Jade said she knew instantly that Archie was dead. She decided to save Daniel, thought 'I can save Daniel', ran into the kitchen with him, grabbed the phone and dialled 999," said Det Insp Gary Biddle, of Essex Police.

"The dog was still having a go at Daniel, grabbed him off the kitchen counter.

"On the 999 call you can hear him attacking Daniel and you can hear Jade shouting and screaming, trying to get the dog off."

'A harrowing accident'

While delivering her conclusions, Coroner Eleanor McGann directly addressed Miss Rogers. She said there was nothing she could say that could comfort the mum of two over the loss of Archie, but praised her efforts to save Daniel-Jay.

"Nobody here is to blame," she said.

"It's just one of those hideous things that comes out of the blue, can't be predicted and, Miss Rogers, I commend you for your bravery fighting off a dog attacking both of your children and you carried on fighting until you were able to catch the dog and get it away from your children.

"It took a number of officers with specialist equipment to catch it afterwards.

"All I can say is it's heartening that you managed to save one child and I understand that he's now recovering and I hope he's able to live a happy life, untouched in the future by what could have been appalling injuries," she said.

"I hope you have some happy memories of his very brief life and I hope you try to remember the happiness of your family."

Image caption The attack happened at a house in Harwich Road, Colchester

The inquest heard Miss Rogers' sister, Clare Ferdinand, and her husband John had owned rescue dog Bailey for about four years.

No previous concerns had been raised about his behaviour and a post-mortem examination found the animal was healthy and well-kept.

Miss Rogers and her children had moved into her sister's house in Harwich Road, where the attack happened, the week before Archie was killed.

Det Insp Biddle said it had taken several dog handler officers to remove the animal when they arrived at the property.

"We had to use specialist equipment to do that because of his continued aggressive behaviour," he said.

"It never stopped for the whole time until it was put to sleep."

Image caption Flowers with hand-written messages were left outside the house where the attack took place

In a statement, Essex Police said: "Nothing was identified in the dog's history, or in the care of the dog, to suggest there had ever been any concern to predict an incident of this nature could occur."

Following a "thorough investigation", the force said, and after consulting the Crown Prosecution Service, it was established no criminal offences had been committed.

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