Dog maul woman suffered haemorrhage


Police outside a property in Demesne Road in Wallington where 52-year-old Barbara Williams was mauled to death by a Belgian mastiff

A woman mauled to death by a dog at her home suffered a severe haemorrhage to her head and neck, police have said.

Barbara Williams, 52, was attacked by a Belgian mastiff at the house where she was a lodger on Demesne Road, Wallington, south London.

She was formally identified at a post-mortem examination which took place at St Helier Hospital.

The dog, described by one officer as large and ferocious, was shot dead by police marksmen following the incident on Thursday.

Ms Williams was pronounced dead at the scene. An inquest into her death will now take place.

Alex Blackburn-Smith, 34, was arrested on suspicion of manslaughter but has since been bailed until late February pending further inquiries.

Detective Chief Superintendent Guy Ferguson described the dog as “distinctly large” and said that at the time of the attack another woman of similar age to Ms Williams was in the house with a child under five.

“It was a very ferocious dog,” he said. “The officers had to use shields to contain the dog.”

Sutton Council confirmed it had received a complaint about dogs damaging a neighbour’s fence last year, but said it had no legal grounds to intervene on the basis of its statutory powers.

Earlier, Mr Ferguson said Blackburn-Smith was the main occupier of the premises. Neighbours said the Belgian mastiff was “a big strong dog” and were afraid to let their children play in the garden when it was next door.

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