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David Ellam death: Man jailed over fatal dog attack

A man whose out-of-control bull terrier attacked and killed his neighbour has been jailed for 10 years.

David Ellam, 52, was mauled by Aaron Joseph’s dog while he attempted to defend his own in Huddersfield in 2016.

It had been returned by police a week before the attack because it was not classed as a dangerous breed.

At Leeds Crown Court, Joseph, 30, was convicted of owning a dog dangerously out of control causing injury resulting in death.

More on this story and others in West Yorkshire

Joseph’s dog, named Alex, escaped from its kennel on 15 August and attacked Mr Ellam while he walked his Yorkshire terrier outside his Riddings Road flat.

Mr Ellam suffered multiple injuries and later died in hospital.

During the trial, prosecutor Richard Walters said that two months prior to Mr Ellam’s death he raised concerns his neighbour’s dog may have been a banned pit bull terrier.

Police seized the dog but returned it to Joseph, who lived in the flat above Mr Ellam, on 8 August.

A dog warden visited Joseph five days before the attack and gave him 21 days to comply with the conditions of a dog control order granted in 2012.

Mr Ellam’s dog, Rolo, was also savaged by Joseph’s dog and required emergency veterinary treatment but survived.

The bull terrier was destroyed in late 2016 when vets found it had a terminal illness.

Mr Ellam’s family previously said he volunteered at Huddersfield Town FC and also worked as a lollipop man.

In a statement, they said: “Dave had the biggest heart and would do anything for anyone.

“Despite pretending to come across as a tough man, he was in fact a great big softie shown unfortunately in his undeniable love to protect Rolo.”

Richard Walters, from the Crown Prosecution Service, said Joseph failed to comply with an order stating his dog needed to be muzzled, kept on a lead, insured, neutered and micro-chipped.

“He chose to place a dog which he knew to have a history of attacking neighbours in a pen in the communal garden of the flats where he lived,” he said.

“This was an appalling case in which a man lost his life in the most shocking way in a horrific, brutal and sustained attack.”

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