Gran of boy, 9, mauled to death by dog spent final moments by his side

Frankie Macritchie, from Plymouth, died inside a caravan at Tencreek Holiday Park in Looe, Cornwall in April 2019. He received bite wounds from American bulldog/Staffordshire bull terrier cross Winston

Frankie Macritchie died after being attacked by a dog in April 2019

The grandma of a nine-year-old boy who was mauled to death by a dog has praised the emergency services who intervened on the day of the incident, an inquest has heard.

Frankie Macritchie, from Plymouth, was on holiday with his family at Tencreek Holiday Park in Looe, Cornwall, when the incident happened in April 2019.

The boy received bite wounds from an American bulldog/Staffordshire bull terrier cross named Winston and sadly passed away from blood loss, Plymouth Live reports.

The inquest in Truro, Cornwall, heard that Frankie and his mother Tawnee Willis, now 32, had only arrived at the holiday park near Looe, Cornwall, the day before.

Some of her friends were staying in a neighbouring caravan on the site when the incident happened as Frankie was playing a computer game.

At today’s hearing, Frankie’s grandmother Pauline Elford praised emergency services as she said they allowed the family to be next to the child in his final moments.

She told the inquest: “You brought us some comfort in the darkness by letting us sit with Frankie in his last moments.”

The incident happened at Tencreek Holiday Park in Cornwall



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Senior Cornwall coroner Andrew Cox told the remote hearing: “The coroner’s inquest is not concerned with matters of fault. No one is on trial during this inquest.

“There has been a criminal process relating to two prosecutions.”

Frankie’s mother Tawnee Willis was jailed for two years at Truro Crown Court in June 2020 after admitting child neglect.

The dog’s owner Sadie Totterdell, now 29, was jailed for three years in the same case after admitting being the owner of a dog dangerously out of control causing injury resulting in death.

Frankie suffered 54 injury wounds to his face, head, neck, chest, back, leg, had defensive wounds to his arm, and he bled to death, the inquest heard.

Home Office forensic pathologist Dr Deborah Cook, who carried out the post mortem, said she wanted to spare his family “any further distress” by detailing the injuries, but told the hearing: “Frankie was sturdily built. He had a lot of blood on his body. I can confirm the injuries I found were extensive.

“The site the dog attack targeted were his head and neck. The dog targeted his buttocks and the back of his waist. There were clear bite marks.

“The dog’s jaw clamped on his right arm and right ankle. His skull was intact.”

Dog owner Sadie Totterdell was jailed for three years



She said his injuries were “extensive and devastating” adding that a child or an adult would have died from the blood loss.

“Even if it had occurred outside a large hospital door I doubt Frankie could have been saved,” said Dr Cook.

She said Frankie’s mother discovered her son with obvious wounds and significant blood loss.

Dr Cook said: “The wounds were characteristic of dog bite and mauling type attack.”

She said Frankie had some defensive wounds where he tried to warn off the dog and she said the boy died from “multiple dog bites”.

Det Con Alison Brooks told the inquest the dog weighed 45 kilograms and was brought to the holiday camp by its owner on the day of the fatal attack.

James Barnett, first responder for South West Ambulance Service for Devon and Cornwall, said when he went to Tencreek Holiday Park he was advised by ambulance control room he was attending a “difficult scene”.

As he got to the caravan, he said the door was “covered in blood”.

Mr Barnett checked the patient’s breathing and was concerned of a major hemorrhage.

He began starting CPR and giving Frankie oxygen while waiting for other ambulance crews to attend.

The coroner thanked the first responder and said his efforts were “above and beyond what could be expected of you. I am extremely grateful of the efforts that you made”.

Referring to Mr Barnett, Frankie’s grandma said: “This gentleman put all and everything and beyond to save our grandson and we can never be more thankful for him.”

When the child died two years ago, his aunt Danielle Macritchie left a bouquet that contained a heartbreaking handwritten note.

She wrote: “Auntie Danielle loved you so much baby boy. I’ve loved you from the second I knew you were coming.

“The first time I saw you, you were still in mummy’s belly and I knew right away we were going to be best friends.

“I’m so sorry this has happened. I am going to miss you till my heart stops beating. We love you baby boy.”

The inquest continues.

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