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01 February 2023

Girl, four, mauled to death by dog was in Milton Keynes

01 February 2023

A four-year-old girl savaged to death by a dog in a back garden was a “very happy child”, a neighbour has said.

Thames Valley Police said officers were called to a house in Broadlands, Netherfield, Milton Keynes, by the ambulance service just after 5pm on Tuesday.

The youngster died at the scene and the dog has been destroyed, the force said.

The end-of-terrace home remained taped off on Wednesday, with a forensic tent by the back garden and a uniformed officer and marked police van at the front of the property.

Floral tributes to the youngster also began to pile up outside the house.

Nobody else was hurt in the attack and the child’s family is being supported by specially trained officers, police said.

No arrests have been made, the force added.

Neighbour Rita Matthews, 36, said she would see the girl while walking her own daughter to school.

“I know the girl. It’s so sad to hear that news,” she said.

“She was always holding her mummy’s hand on the way back.

“It’s so sad we’re not going to see the girl again and I pray all the best to her mum to get her strength back.”

Mother-of-four Ms Matthews described the youngster as a “happy little girl, very happy”.

“She would say ‘Bye, auntie’, and I would say ‘Bye, little girl’,” she said.

“You know kids, playing around.”

Police Superintendent Matt Bullivant said the dog was “humanely” destroyed “in order to ensure public safety” after the girl’s “absolutely tragic” death.

“I understand how much of an impact this will have on the community and on the wider public, and people can expect to see a large police presence in the area this evening and beyond while our investigation continues,” he said.

“I would like to reassure people that there is no reason to believe there is any danger to the wider public at this time.”

He asked people to respect the privacy of the family involved, adding: “It is impossible to imagine what they must be going through at the moment.”

Donna Fuller, a ward councillor for Woughton Community Council, said the area has a “tight-knit community, predominantly families”.

She added that there is “such a sense of shock” and it is an “awful situation”.

She said a vigil will be held at Grand Union Vineyard Church, Netherfield Campus, across the road from the house, at 7pm on Wednesday to “enable the community to come together and draw strength from each other”.

“It will send a strong message to the family that we are thinking of them,” she added.

Anyone with information about the attack has been asked to call 101, quoting reference 20230131-1546.

Alternatively, people can make a report online, or call the charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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