Northampton

Molly-Mae Wotherspoon dog death: Mother and grandmother jailed

Susan Aucott (l) and Claire Riley (r) Image copyright SWNS
Image caption Susan Aucott (l) and Claire Riley (r) were each jailed for two years

The mother and grandmother of a six-month-old baby girl mauled to death by the family dog have been jailed.

Molly-Mae Wotherspoon was attacked by an American pit bull named Bruiser at a house in Daventry, Northamptonshire, in October 2014.

Mother Claire Riley, 23, admitted owning a dangerously out of control dog and grandmother Susan Aucott, 55, admitted being in charge of one.

Both were sentenced at Northampton Crown Court to two years.

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Jailing them, judge Mrs Justice Carr told the pair Molly-Mae was savagely attacked by the pit bull in "a tragic and totally avoidable incident".

Image copyright PA
Image caption Claire Riley and Susan Aucott arrived at Northampton Crown Court hidden behind umbrellas

The court heard Aucott, an alcoholic, was looking after her granddaughter at Riley's former home in Morning Star Road when the dog attacked the baby.

James House, prosecuting, said the pit bull broke free from his cage in the kitchen and opened the door to the lounge to reach baby Molly-Mae on the floor.

It grabbed the six-month-old by her head.

Aucott threw herself across the baby but it was too late.

Image copyright Northants Police
Image caption Riley (l) and Aucott (r) will both spend one year in jail before being released on licence for a further year

Molly-Mae suffered injuries to every limb and puncture wounds to her brain.

She died from severe blood loss due to the head wounds, a post-mortem examination showed.

The dog was put down at the scene.

Baby was 'prey'

The court heard Riley knew her dog was aggressive and jealous of her baby and it had been kept away from Molly-Mae.

However, the baby's cries made it "an object of prey", the court heard.

A vet who treated the American pit bull - a breed banned in the UK - said Bruiser was one of the most dangerous dogs she had seen.

Image copyright Google

Molly-Mae: Timeline of events

  • 3 October 2014: Six-month-old Molly-Mae Wotherspoon attacked by an American pit bull at mother's home
  • August 2015: Mother Claire Riley and grandmother Susan Aucott charged with being in control of a dangerously out-of-control dog, resulting in death
  • September 2015: Aucott appears at Northampton Magistrates' Court. Riley does not attend due to illness
  • December 2015: Aucott denies the charge against her at crown court
  • June 2016: Both defendants admit to the charges against them at crown court
  • July 2016: First attempt at sentencing adjourned due to Riley's pregnancy
  • 26 August 2016: Sentencing adjourned as Riley is taken from court by ambulance after falling ill
  • 15 September 2016: Pair sentenced to two years in prison, to serve half on licence

In June, Aucott, of Alfred Street, Northampton, admitted being in charge of a dangerously out of control dog resulting in death.

She was jailed for two years but will be released on licence after one year. She was also banned from owning a dog for ten years.

Riley, of Merrydale Square, Northampton, admitted owning a dangerously out of control dog on the first day of her trial later in June.

She was sentenced to two years, one of which she will serve in prison before being released on licence, and was banned from owning a dog for 10 years.

The recommendations of a Serious Case Review into the death of Molly-Mae are expected to be examined by Northampton Safeguarding Children Board officers next month.

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