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Grandmother, 68, killed in dog attack while visiting grandson

A grandmother has died after being attacked by two dogs described as XL Bullies while visiting her 11-year-old grandson in Jaywick.

Essex Police were called to Hillman Avenue shortly after 4pm on Saturday where they found the victim, named by her family as Esther Martin, seriously injured.

The 68-year-old, from Woodford Green, London, was pronounced dead at the scene. The attack is thought to have involved two XL bully-type dogs.

Neighbours have described hearing “horrific” screaming from the property lasting 10 minutes.

A 39-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of dangerous dog offences and is being questioned by detectives.

The dogs had to be destroyed and police said that experts would confirm their breed later.

The attack is thought to have involved two XL bully-type dogs (Handout)
The attack is thought to have involved two XL bully-type dogs (Handout)

The victim’s daughter, Sonia Martin, from Chesterfield, told Mail Online: “They were XL bullies. There were eight of them in the house, six puppies and two adults.

“Her grandson was in the house. He came running out shouting for help. We would like to thank all the neighbours who tried to help our mum.”

Chief Superintendent Glen Pavelin added: “I would also like to thank local people who tried to get into the house to help Esther Martin. You should be proud.”

A police spokesperson said: “We have been carrying out inquiries to establish the circumstances which led up to the incident and we believe she had been assaulted by two dogs.”

The scene is now safe for members of the public, he added.

Chief Superintendent Glen Pavelin said: “My thoughts, and those of our officers and staff, are with the family of the woman who died yesterday.

A police cordon in Hillman Avenue, Jaywick after Esther Martin was killed in a dog attack (PA)
A police cordon in Hillman Avenue, Jaywick after Esther Martin was killed in a dog attack (PA)

“This incident will be a huge shock to the community and I understand their concerns.

“We’ll have officers in the area throughout today so please come and speak to them if you have any information or are worried.

“Experienced detectives are leading the investigation to identify exactly what has happened.”

Ms Martin, of Chesterfield, Derbyshire, said that her mother had previously expressed concerns about the “dangerous and aggressive dogs”.

She told the BBC: “There were adult XL bully dogs in the property, and my mum had raised concerns to the owners about them being dangerous and quite aggressive. There were also six puppies.”

She said she had been informed that the puppies had started fighting and her mother had been told by the dogs’ owner to “put a broom in among them, to distract them”.

She said: “That’s when she was attacked.”

Ms Martin said that her mother, who was retired but had worked at a Tesco store, had been “getting her life back together” following the death of another daughter two years ago.

She added: ”It’s killed our mum and it’s killed our children’s grandmother. I’m getting married in a couple of years and my mum won’t be at that.”

Paying tribute to officers and local residents, Mr Pavelin said: “When six police officers entered the house, their priority was, as always, to keep their community safe.

“Their unflinching bravery and professionalism ensured that there is no ongoing threat to the people of Essex, both dogs were destroyed inside the house.

“I would also like to thank local people who tried to get into the house to help Esther Martin, you should be proud.”

Mr Pavelin declined to comment on the breed of the dogs which had been destroyed by officers.

He said: “I know there is speculation about the breed of the dogs involved and we are working with experts to establish this.

“I would ask you not to speculate, we will establish the facts and we will keep the community of Jaywick updated.”

He added he had not been informed of any information about previous complaints made about the dogs involved in the incident.

Mr Pavelin said the suspect, who is from Jaywick, remained in custody for questioning.

People can contact the force online quoting reference 723 of Saturday, or information can be provided to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.