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Man ‘killed by own dog’

A MAN died after being allegedly being savaged by his own dog.

Lee Scrimshaw was bitten on the neck by his Staffordshire Bull Terrier, Dylan. Police believe that Mr Scrimshaw had an epileptic fit with alarmed the dog who turned on him. However, many Staffordshire Bull Terrier owners have refuted this, saying that Dylan could have been nuzzling and nipping his owner, urging him to get up after the seizure.

Mr Scrimshaw, 42, was staying with a friend in St Michael's Street, Sutton-in-Ashfield, Notts. when he is thought to have had a fit. He died in hospital after being in a coma for more than a week. Dylan was later put to sleep.

Grieving friends gathered last week at the nearby New Cross pub, where the victim was well known.

Licensee Kim Carlin, 50, whose two dogs are the offspring of Mr Scrimshaw's, visited him in King's Mill Hospital, Sutton.

He said: ‘He was gasping for breath. I held his hand for a second and said a few words. I said 'let's have you out of this and have you fighting'.

‘Nobody knows why it happened. It's a real shame.’

His partner, Angie Bamford, said: ‘It was a shock to everybody. He loved his dog and he always had plenty of time for it.’

A 38-year-old neighbour said: ‘It was a very big dog and Lee teased it. I saw him once in the pub head butting it and teasing it. I can remember saying that one day the dog was going to cause him some damage.’

A post-mortem examination established the cause of death was a bite wound to the neck.
Inspector David Richardson, Police area commander for Ashfield North, said: ‘Mr Scrimshaw was with a friend having a drink when he had a fit and his pet dog became alarmed and attacked him.
‘He was taken to King's Mill Hospital and died as a result of his injuries.

‘It was a terrible accident and as far as the police are concerned there is nothing suspicious to investigate.’

After the story was reported by the Nottingham Evening Post, several correspondents e-mailed the newspaper’s website refuting the ‘attack’ scenario, stating that this was not the first time something like this had happened, as dogs were very sensitive to their owner’s moods and health, and that many dogs could predict an epileptic seizure. However, one correspondent, who himself was a dog owner, stated that if a dog was teased and provoked, it could turn on anyone, even their owner.

The case has echoes of that of George Dinham, 47,who was found slumped on the living room floor of his London home with ‘horrific’ face and neck injuries by his brother Fred.

According to a lurid report in the Daily Mirror newspaper in 2003, Mr Dinham’s Staffordshire Bull Terrier Ben was ‘caked’ in his master's blood.

Fred Dinham, who lived with his brother George in Wandle Way, Earlsfield, South London, said:
‘We can only think he had some sort of fit and scared the dog. There's no way Ben would have gone for him otherwise - he loved that dog and the dog loved him.’