Middlesbrough woman dies after police dog bites
A 73-year-old Middlesbrough woman has died days after being bitten by a police dog in her home.
Irene Collins, of Penrith Road, was bitten several times by the German shepherd after Cleveland Police went into her garden to search for a suspected burglar last Wednesday.
She was taken to James Cook University Hospital but died at the weekend.
The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) will now decide how the incident should be investigated.
Assistant Chief Constable Sean White said: "Our thoughts are with family members, relatives and friends who will be distraught at this sad news.
"Members of Cleveland Police share the grief that is felt and we all wish to express our sincerest condolences to the family.
"The police dog involved has been withdrawn from operational policing activities and support is being provided to the police officer who was handling the dog at the time of the event."
Officers had stopped a car and arrested a man after finding drugs and cash.
A second man ran off and Ms Collins was bitten in her kitchen after giving police permission to search her garden.
Her family issued a brief statement, which said: "We would like to thank people for their kind messages.
"We are devastated."
The matter had already been referred to the IPCC and Mr White said the force was providing the highest level of co-operation.