The Mother of a nine year old who partied while her nine-year old son was mauled to death by her friend’s “extremely powerful” dog has been jailed.
The tragedy unfolded at a holiday park in Cornwall on 12 April last year. Frankie Macritchie was left alone inside the caravan with a 45kg American bulldog terrier for more than two hours while his mother, Tawnee Willis, went to a party.
It was reported that Frankie came to the caravan where his mother and friends were partying at about 2am, saying he was hungry. His mother took him back to the caravan and left the boy and dog alone while she returned to the party.
When she returned to check on her son at about 4.30am, she found that the dog had attacked him, leaving him lifeless with more than 50 bite wounds. The little boy died from blood loss.
The boy’s PlayStation was still on and she told the police that it was possible Frankie had raised his voice in excitement at a game, as he was known to play standing up. This innocent behavior may have lead the dog to attack him.
A postmortem examination showed that Frankie suffered 54 injuries including bite marks, puncture wounds, lacerations, bruises, scratches and drag marks. He suffered dozens of bite wounds when the “out of control” dog attacked him.
The Judge, Simon Carr said: “Winston was an extremely powerful and potentially dangerous dog. Yet a decision was taken to leave Winston and Frankie in that caravan alone.”
Tawnee Willis (Frankie’s mother), age 31, from Plymouth, admitted neglect and was jailed for two years. Her friend Sadie Totterdell age 29, also from Plymouth, was jailed for three years and banned from having a dog for 10 years. She admitted to owning the “dangerously out of control” bulldog.
“Frankie’s grandmother Pauline Elford who rushed to be by her grandson’s side on the night of the incident after the alarm was raised said Frankie, was born with a heart problem and had been well-known on the campsite where he was attacked.
Members of Frankie’s family on his father’s side said they would never forgive the women whose behaviour caused the death of their son. They said: “Frankie was left alone to die in the most horrific way, beyond anyone’s imagination. Frankie was a special young boy. He was funny, caring and kind – his smile would melt your heart. He was always joking around and he loved everyone. The impact of our boy’s passing on us is huge. We are truly heartbroken.”