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Father Whose Dangerous Dog Mauled his Baby son is Jailed

  • Ryan Young admitted being in charge of a dangerous dog after his baby’s death
  • Reggie Richardson was just 20 days old when he died as a result of his injuries
  • Young, of Sunderland, denied separate charge of neglect and this will lie on file
  • Reggie’s mother Maria Blacklin had not been at home when dog attacked him
Ryan Young, pictured outside Newcastle Crown Court today, slept through the attack

Ryan Young, pictured outside Newcastle Crown Court today, slept through the attack

A father who drunkenly slept through a sustained fatal attack by the family’s terrier on his three-week-old son was jailed for 21 months today.

Reggie Young’s mother, Maria Blacklin, screamed in horror when she came home to find the baby barely alive, with partner Ryan Young and Lakeland Terrier-cross Tricky asleep.

Newcastle Crown Court heard that the attack by the foot-tall dog could easily have been stopped, but the father did not wake up and the mauling may have lasted up to 20 minutes.

Young later told police he had drunk eight cans of Foster’s lager, and a taxi driver came forward to say he had been asked to deliver eight more to the address in Sunderland on the evening in June 2015.

Miss Blacklin’s grandmother had died that day and she had gone out to console her family, leaving her partner, a roofer, to look after Reggie, who was in a bouncer in the lounge.

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The court heard that the dog was kept in the garden and normally only allowed in the kitchen, but there were no concerns over its temperament around children; it was not a fighting dog or used in vermin control.

Reggie Young was just 20 days old when he died from his injuries in the dog attackReggie was blue but still breathing after the attack and paramedics were called

Little Reggie Young was just 20 days old when he died from his injuries in the dog attack

Miss Blacklin returned home after 4am to what Judge Tim Gittens said was a scene of ‘Gothic horror’, with her newborn on the floor in a pool of blood.

Reggie was blue but still breathing and paramedics were called but he could not be saved. Young later told police: ‘I would not say I was drunk, more tired.’

Shaun Dodds, prosecuting, said: ‘The officers who arrived described the defendant as appearing drunk.’

He refused to give a breath test and the amount he had drunk was not clear.

Inquiries suggested the baby fell or was dragged from the bouncer and was mauled by the terrier.

Young (left), of Sunderland, is consoled after his son's funeral service more than two years ago

Young (left), of Sunderland, is consoled after his son’s funeral service more than two years ago

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The animal had not been introduced to the newborn and may have been driven to attack by Reggie’s ‘unco-ordinated’ movements.

Mr Dodds said: ‘Had the defendant not been asleep in drink, he would have been able to stop the attack.’

Young, who admitted being the owner of dog that resulted in the death while dangerously out of control at a previous hearing, wept loudly throughout the proceedings.

Young carried his son’s coffin ahead of his funeral service, Caroline Goodwin QC, defending, said.

Reggie's mother screamed in horror when she came home to their house in Sunderland

Reggie’s mother screamed in horror when she came home to their house in Sunderland

‘He is absolutely devastated,’ she said. ‘Nothing he can do can turn back the clock and bring back his own child.

‘It was all the more harrowing for the family when he carried his child’s coffin before the service. It has been a long two years, this is a life sentence for this man.’

Miss Goodwin said the dog had no history of aggression but behaved ‘naturally and instinctively’ on the night.

The dog had been acquired from a nearby relative from being a puppy and was around two years old.

Flowers left outside the Sunderland home of three-week-old Reggie following his death in 2015

Flowers left outside the Sunderland home of three-week-old Reggie following his death in 2015

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Judge Gittens said Young’s alcohol intake that night ‘significantly intoxicated’ him, ‘if not to the point of stupor, then into a very deep sleep’.

He said: ‘Reggie was subjected to a most dreadful, torturous, confusing attack and he sustained horrific and painful injuries.’

The judge accepted that Young, a hard-working father, had developed depression and post-traumatic stress disorder in which he repeatedly experienced the aftermath of the terrier attack.

He said: ‘I am satisfied that your lack of control of your animal was due to the influence of alcohol and your selfish decision to drink to excess after a hard day at work.’

The court heard that the dog was kept in the garden and normally only allowed in the kitchen

The court heard that the dog was kept in the garden and normally only allowed in the kitchen

The judge jailed Young for 21 months and banned him from keeping a dog for seven years.

He commended the emergency services for their efforts to save the baby, and described the scene they found as ‘traumatic’.

He said: ‘It is clear that they nonetheless dealt with it in the most professional way and they did all they could for Reggie.’

No family members were in court for the sentencing hearing.

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