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Accidental death verdict on baby

A CORONER returned a verdict of accidental death on a five month-old baby girl who was mauled to death by two pub guard dogs when the door to the room where she was sleeping was left ajar.
The mother of Cadey-Lee Deacon found her daughter covered in blood, Leicester coroner's court was told last week, after the dogs got in to the pub's living quarters and savaged the baby. The coroner, Martin Symington, recorded a verdict of accidental death.

One or both of the dogs dragged the baby from her room and on to the roof terrace at the Rocket pub in Leicester in September 2006. The baby's mother, Amy Burchell, discovered Cadey-Lee on the terrace with one of the dogs lying beside her.

In written evidence Burchell described going in to check on Cadey-Lee, finding her missing from her room and signs of disturbance. "I looked inside and saw the stand was toppled over. The blankets were also on the floor.

"I then ran out and ran on to the roof terrace. I could see my baby on the floor. I could see that the big dog, Bruno, was lying next to her. I did not see [the other dog] Bessie but at that stage I just focused on getting Cadey-Lee. I picked her up and … and she was totally covered in blood. There was a bite mark on her head. I thought she was dead."

Burchell took her daughter to hospital but she was confirmed dead a short time later. Burchell said: "She was my only child and everything to me. What has happened is the most tragic loss I could have faced."

A post mortem examination found that the child had suffered "a substantial number of injuries", including bite marks to her head, chest and abdomen.

At the time of the attack, Burchell and her husband, Lee, then her boyfriend, were packing up their belongings in order to move out the following week. While they were moving furniture, the dogs, which were usually kept in a kennel on the flat roof, got in to the living quarters through an open door. Both dogs were destroyed the day after the attack.

Police investigated the incident but the Crown Prosecution Service concluded in September 2006 that there was insufficient evidence to secure a conviction.

In a separate attack on the same weekend, Cadey-Lee's grandfather John Brightwell was stabbed and his partner, Debra Larn, was murdered by a neighbour.