Reuben McNulty was only 14 days old when his family’s Staffordshire Bull Terrier bit his head up to 23 times while his mother slept soundly and his father was outside to get a cigarette
A newborn baby boy was carried to death by a family dog after his mother fell asleep on the couch and his father went outside to get a cigarette.
Reuben McNulty was only 14 days old when his parents’ pet Staffordshire Bull Terrier bit his head up to 23 times, resulting in his death three weeks later.
Parents Amy Litchfield and Dan McNulty had previously been warned by social workers not to leave Reuben unattended and alone with their two Staffies.
But Amy, 31, was lying in a deep sleep next to Reuben, who was also sleeping in a teddy bear bed on the couch, and Dan had gone outside for a cigarette when the tot was rescued by one of the dogs in the family home in Yaxley. , Cambs.
A study today heard that neither Reuben nor the dogs were directly monitored at the time of the attack just before noon. 02.00 on 18 November 2018.
None of the child’s parents attended the hearing today.
The forensic pathologist heard that Dan returned inside to find Reuben and the white dog – called Dottie and at about 6 – covered in blood while Amy was still asleep.
Dan immediately called 999 and told the operator, “I think that f *** dog attacked him. My partner was asleep, I just heard crying.
“He’s just bleeding, you know? I was like what the hell?”
When paramedics arrived, Daniel and Amy refused to hold Reuben, the investigation heard.
The baby was transported to Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge, where it turned out he had suffered severe brain, spine and skull injuries.
Reuben died at the same hospital on December 13 – three days after the life support was removed.
Simon Newbury, a veterinary forensic expert, said the dog may have bitten Reuben up to 23 times in the head while shaking him around.
Sir. Newbury told the investigation at Peterborough Town Hall: “It is possible that Dottie saw Reuben as a small prey or a squeaky toy.
“It is possible that Dottie was stimulated to a predation of crying or a movement [by Reuben].
“There does not appear to have been any supervision of the dogs. Amy was in a deep sleep, Daniel was downstairs and smoking.”
Dan and Amy were both arrested by police on suspicion of neglect after the incident, but prosecutors decided not to charge them in December 2020.
A child protection plan was issued by the social services before Reuben’s birth, who said he should never be left alone with Dottie and the other dog, a nine-year-old Staffy named Fizz.
Amy had owned the dogs since their birth and there were no previous reports of violence or aggression from them.
Both dogs were seized by police and killed after the incident.
Forensic scientist Simon Milburn closed the investigation: “[The child protection plan] gives clear indications and evidence that the parents were aware that Reuben should not be left alone with the dogs at any time, nor when the family ate.
“Neither Reuben nor the dogs were monitored directly during the attack.”
Milburn added: “In the early hours, the explanation was that the mother was sleeping in the living room – she had taken sleeping pills.
“Reuben slept in the same room, and the dogs slept or lay still in their bed in the same room.
Dan said he was going out for a cigarette and Amy remembered it in her [police] interview, which Dan told her, but unfortunately she fell asleep again, and it was when Dan arrived shortly afterwards, he found Reuben seriously injured and one of the dogs, Dottie, covered in Reuben’s blood. “
Milburn described the incident as an “unintentionally short period of inattention, which unfortunately had dire and tragic consequences”.
He noted that the dogs had been separated from Reuben during previous visits by social services and midwives, including on November 12 – six days before the incident.
After the investigation today, Reuben’s nan Ruth Hinchey spoke about her relief at finding a conclusion on the family’s ordeal.
Ruth, Amy’s mother, said, “We’re just happy that it’s done and that we can move on properly.”