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A woman has died after being mauled by two dogs reported to be XL bullies.

Essex Police said officers were called to a house in Hillman Avenue, Jaywick, where they found victim Esther Martin seriously injured.

The 68-year-old, who was visiting her 11-year-old grandson at the time, was pronounced dead at the scene shortly after 4pm on Saturday.

A 39-year-old man from Jaywick, who was known to the victim, was arrested on suspicion of dangerous dog offences and remains in custody.

Ms Martin’s daughter Sonia Martin said the dogs were of the XL bully breed – which was banned at the start of this month – with a total of six puppies and two adult dogs in the property.

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.”

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

“That’s when she was attacked,” she added.

Esther Martin. Pic: Family handout
Image:
Esther Martin. Pic: Family handout

Ms Martin added that her mother, from Woodford Green in London, 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.”

‘Unflinching bravery’

Essex Police said earlier on Sunday that the force was “working with experts” to establish the breed of the dogs and urged the public “not to speculate”.

Chief Superintendent Glen Pavelin said both of the animals were “destroyed inside the house” after officers arrived at the scene.

He told reporters: “Their unflinching bravery and professionalism ensured that there is no ongoing threat to the people of Essex as a result of this incident.”

Pic: Essex Police
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Experienced detectives are leading the investigation. Pic: Essex Police

The force also revealed that members of the public tried to save Esther as the attack unfolded.

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

He added: “Our thoughts remain with everyone affected by what’s happened.

“I’ve seen the flowers laid down for Esther, as have my officers. I would like to thank all those that have come together to pay tribute to her.”

Chief Supt Pavelin said the man arrested is thought to be a relative of Esther.

‘Barking and screaming’

Lucy Shaw, 38, who lives nearby, told the PA news agency she heard screaming for around 10 minutes.

She said: “We went out into the garden and it was all quiet and then we heard dogs barking, and then we heard someone screaming.

“It seemed like the screaming of a child. That went on for about 10 minutes. We went back in after a while because it sounded horrific.”

Pic: Ed Schooling/Facebook
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The victim was declared dead at the scene. Pic: Ed Schooling/Facebook

Fellow neighbour Mike Coleman, 74, said he saw a man come down the road to the property and start shouting.

He said: “He is really shouting and hollering, he was really, really loud. Then he starts whacking at the windows. He appeared panicked.

“He said ‘phone the police’. My wife phoned them but they said they had someone else on the phone. Minutes later the police came – two cars, then three then five, and then they blocked the road off.

“I heard the shots of them being destroyed, then that was it.”

His wife Julie Coleman, 67, described the man as “very stressed, very agitated, very verbal and quite concerned”.

She added: “He was shouting ‘they’re XL bullies’, but I just don’t know [what breed they were].”

Breed yet to be established

Although the breed involved is yet to be established, the attack comes just days after a ban on XL bully-type dogs came into force, meaning it is now a criminal offence to own one of the animals in England and Wales without an exemption certificate.

Pic: Essex Police
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A man has been detained on suspicion of dangerous dog offences. Pic: Essex Police

Unregistered pets can be seized and owners fined and prosecuted.

Around 40,000 of the large bulldog-type American breed are believed to have been registered before Wednesday’s deadline, but there may be thousands more without certificates.

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The ban on XL bully dogs was introduced after a spate of attacks in recent years.

The breed was added to the Dangerous Dogs Act on 31 October last year when restrictions came into force dictating the dogs must be kept on a lead and muzzled in public.

Breeding, selling or abandoning the dogs also became illegal as of 31 December 2023.

Owners of XL bully dogs in Scotland will also be subject at a later date to the safeguards after Holyrood replicated legislation in place south of the border.

A decision on whether to add to the list of banned breeds in Northern Ireland is for locally elected ministers and is yet to be made.

People with dangerously out-of-control dogs can be jailed for up to 14 years and banned from owning animals, and their pets can be put down.

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Jay Slater: Photographs show Tenerife property where missing British teenager was last seen

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Jay Slater: Photographs show Tenerife property where missing British teenager was last seen

Photographs show the Tenerife property where British teenager Jay Slater is believed to have been last seen before he went missing on Monday.

A Snapchat video shared by the 19-year-old on Sunday night appears to show the property he visited in the northwestern mountain village of Masca after attending the NRG music festival.

Mr Slater, from Oswaldtwistle near Blackburn in Lancashire, was holidaying with friends on the island before he went missing.

The property where Mr Slater is believed to have been last seen
Image:
The property where Jay Slater is believed to have been last seen

His friend Lucy Law told Wednesday’s UK Tonight programme on Sky News that she spoke to Mr Slater on the phone at about 8.15am local time on Monday.

During the short phone call, he told her he had missed a bus trying to get back to his holiday accommodation so was attempting to walk instead – a journey that would take 11 hours.

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Missing British teen’s friend speaks to Sky News

She said he told her he had “cut his leg on a cactus“, didn’t know where he was and his mobile phone battery was down to 1%.

Ms Law also said Mr Slater told her he “needed a drink”.

He was able to send her his last live location which showed as the Rural de Teno Park – a mountainous area popular with hikers – before his phone cut out.

Ms Law said Mr Slater, an apprentice bricklayer, is “not a stupid boy” and would have flagged down any passing car or spoken to a passerby.

Soon after Mr Slater went missing, an American woman offered to drive Ms Law up into the mountains.

There was “literally no sign of him anywhere”, she said. “We drove around all day.”

Ms Law added that they “managed to find the house” where Mr Slater was last seen.

She continued: “I knocked on the door and there were two people there.”

Image:
The property where Jay Slater is believed to have been last seen

They told Ms Law that Mr Slater had gone out for a cigarette before going back in and saying he wanted to go home.

“They told me he’d spoken to the next door neighbours and they’d told him there was a bus every 10 minutes back down to Los Cristianos.

“The bus stop was right next to the house. So obviously if he’d gone to get the bus he wouldn’t have got lost because it [the stop] was visible from the front door.”

Tenerife map for Jay Slater story
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Jay Slater’s phone’s last live location was Rural de Teno Park. The search has also focused on Los Cristianos

The teenager was wearing a T-shirt and shorts and was without food and water, she added.

“It’s very warm in the day and very cold at night,” Ms Law said.

“So in the day he’s going to be really warm without a drink, and then at night he’s going to be very cold without any suitable clothing.”

Read more:
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Former Coronation Street star prays for his safe return

Jay Slater. Pic: Lucy Law
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Pic: Lucy Law

Pic: Reuters
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A rescue team searches the Masca ravine. Pic: Reuters

Earlier, she told the Manchester Evening News someone Mr Slater had met on the night out had driven him back to their apartment in a hire car without him realising how far away it was.

“He’s ended up out in the middle of nowhere. Jay was obviously thinking he would be able to get home from there,” she told the newspaper.

‘A living nightmare’

Mr Slater’s mother Debbie Duncan, who flew to the island and has joined mountain rescuers and the local civil guard in the search for her son, has called his disappearance “an absolute living nightmare”.

Search teams refocused their efforts on Thursday in the north of Tenerife, where Rural de Teno Park is located, after discounting a potential lead in the south of the island, the BBC reported.

Meanwhile, a Tenerife-based journalist said today is a “key day” in the search for Mr Slater.

Clio O’Flynn told Sky News: “If he’s taken shelter, the hope is he’s waiting for help to come along,”

She added: “The problem will be ‘does he have a phone signal? Will people be able to locate him? Can he hear their cries?'”

Police officers search for a missing  Masca ravine on the island of Tenerife.
Pic: Reuters
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Police officers search the Masca ravine. Pic: Reuters

Ms O’Flynn said the search had been “very intense” with teams using all the resources at their disposal, including “mountain specialists, search dogs, drones and helicopters” and are “taking suggestions from his family, so it’s very coordinated”.

The area where he is believed to have gone missing is a “dry, arid, part of the island”, and, given its volcanic origins, has “ravines and gullies”, Ms O’Flynn said.

She warned there are “no lakes, rivers or streams, so it would be quite hard for him to access fresh water”.

Temperatures have been about 26C (79F), she said, but warned that “if you’re lost, 25C is very hot”.

A UK Foreign Office spokesperson said: “We are supporting the family of a British man who has been reported missing in Spain and are in contact with the local authorities.”

The Spanish Civil Guard told UK media they are “doing everything possible” to find Mr Slater.

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Spurs player Rodrigo Bentancur apologises for racist joke about teammate Son Heung-min

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Spurs player Rodrigo Bentancur apologises for racist joke about teammate Son Heung-min

Tottenham Hotspur captain Son Heung-min has said teammate Rodrigo Bentancur knows he “made a mistake” after making racist joke about him.

Bentancur was asked on Uruguayan TV for a Spurs player’s shirt, to which he replied: “Sonny’s? It could be Sonny’s cousin too, as they all look the same.”

Anti-discrimination charity Kick It Out said it had received a “significant number” of complaints.

The Uruguayan midfielder apologised on social media, describing it as a “very bad joke”, with Son later saying the pair were “brothers” and “nothing has changed at all”.

Tottenham said in a statement: “We fully support that our captain Sonny feels that he can draw a line under the incident and that the team can focus on the new season ahead.

“We are extremely proud of our diverse, global fanbase and playing squads. Discrimination of any kind has no place at our club, within our game or within wider society.”

In the same post, the club quotes Son as saying: “I’ve spoken with Lolo (Bentancur). He made a mistake, he knows this and has apologised.

“Lolo would not mean to ever intentionally say something offensive. We are brothers and nothing has changed at all.

“We’re past this, we’re united, and we will be back together in pre-season to fight for our club as one.”

Bentancur had previously posted: “Sonny brother! I apologise to you for what happened, it was just a very bad joke.”

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Spurs’s Premier League season kicks off at newly promoted Leicester City on 19 August, followed by games against Everton, Newcastle and arch-enemy Arsenal.

Bentancur is currently preparing to represent Uruguay at this summer’s Copa America in the US, which starts on 20 June.

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Woman admits manslaughter after riding away on mobility scooter, leaving owner in freezing temperatures

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Woman admits manslaughter after riding away on mobility scooter, leaving owner in freezing temperatures

A woman has admitted the manslaughter of a mobility scooter user who was found unresponsive in a Tesco car park.

Kimberley Ann Hawkins, 41, of no fixed address, pleaded guilty to killing Neil Shadwick, 63, during a hearing at Bristol Crown Court on Thursday afternoon.

Mr Shadwick died following an incident in the car park of a Tesco superstore on Stratford Road, Stroud, on 22 January last year.

He was found unresponsive in the car park shortly before 6am and without his mobility scooter, which he used as his mode of transport. He died at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital the same day.

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An investigation found Hawkins rode away on the mobility scooter, leaving its owner in sub-zero temperatures, police said.

Detective Inspector Adam Stacey said: “Hawkins’ sickening actions had tragically fatal consequences for a man whom she knew full well to be extremely vulnerable.

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“I welcome her guilty plea, which has meant that Mr Shadwick’s family at least have not had to endure a lengthy trial in court.

“Our thoughts remain with his family at this very difficult time.”

Sentencing is expected to take place in August.

Hawkins has been remanded in custody.

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