Fri, 02 Aug 2019
A PREGNANT woman, pouring with blood, was rushed to hospital with serious injuries following a savage and terrifying dog attack.
And a Good Samaritan who came to her aid was mauled so badly that he needed three days off work to recover following hospital treatment.
The terrifying attack was vicious and sustained, lasting fully 15 minutes, Reading Magistrates’ Court heard on Monday, July 29.
Victim Samantha Egger was treated for deep tissue damage, “gaping” wounds and a flap of skin torn from her face, a district judge heard.
In the dock was 77-year-old John Hopkins of Bockhampton Road, Lambourn.
At a previous hearing he had denied being the owner or person in charge of a black-and-white Staffordshire cross, which was dangerously out of control at Bockhampton Manor on December 17 last year and which injured Ms Egger.
But he entered a guilty plea on the day the trial was scheduled.
Richard Atkins, prosecuting, said Ms Egger was walking her Yorkshire terrier when a Staffordshire cross and a collie ran towards her.
She said in a statement: “Neither were on a leash.
“The man with them shouted that they were friendly. I knew this wasn’t the case because of a previous incident.”
The Staffordshire began to attack Ms Egger’s dog and, as she tried to rescue her pet, it dragged her to the ground.
Despite being badly bitten, the court heard, she struggled to her feet and grabbed the Staffordshire by the scruff of the neck, shouting at Mr Hopkins to control it.
She went on: “He just walked around, commenting that the dog never does as it’s told.
“My dog was still being bitten.
“I was so shocked that he wasn’t taking it seriously.
“Then the collie joined in.”
Ms Egger was attacked again and dragged to the ground, where she was bitten on her hands, fingers, legs, face and throat.
She said: “I was screaming hysterically; I was pregnant.”
It was then that passer-by Craig Joyce tried to rescue her, said Mr Atkins, as the Staffordshire continued to savage a helpless Mrs Egger.
She said: “He started kicking it away and shouting at the man to get hold of his dog.
“But he was still just walking slowly round without making much effort.”
Mr Joyce then tried to lift Mrs Egger’s dog to safety but the Staffordshire began to attack him, too.
Mr Atkins praised Mr Joyce as a “Good Samaritan” and said he too was taken to the Great Western Hospital, losing three days of work due to the seriousness of his injuries.
Mrs Egger was also taken to hospital in agony where her unborn baby was checked but found to be unaffected.
Meanwhile her Yorkshire terrier also sustained “very serious injuries”, for which it needed expensive veterinary treatment, said Mr Atkins.
Sally Thomson, defending, said it was her client’s recollection that Mrs Egger’s dog had attacked his first.
She added that he initially pleaded not guilty because he believed the incident was Mrs Egger’s fault and she was “collateral damage”.
Mrs Thomson went on: “He said her injuries were caused because she intervened.
“But the Crown served other evidence which didn’t support his recollection.
“However, the way it’s been described makes it sound as if he didn’t care.
“He wasn’t rude or unpleasant to the aggrieved.
“The dog has no known history and he says he doesn’t walk it now unless it’s on a lead.”
District judge Sophie Toms said: “The law says the dog should be destroyed unless I’m satisfied it doesn’t constitute a danger, which normally would require expert evidence.”
She sentenced Mr Hopkins to five months imprisonment, suspended for 12 months.
In addition, she ordered him to pay £300 compensation to Mrs Egger and ordered the Staffordshire cross to be destroyed.
Mr Hopkins has since lodged an appeal against the destruction order.