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Dog 'Literally Ate Pensioner Alive' (VIDEO AND PICTURES)

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Two women have been jailed after a pensioner was "literally eaten alive" by their dog.

Clifford Clarke, 79, was mauled in his garden in Liverpool after he opened his back door while he was cooking a meal.

The court heard that the "wild" and "out of control" Presa Canario sank its teeth into Mr Clarke's arm and dragged him around his garden.

The dog effectively chewed his arm off and also mauled his other arm. Mr Clarke died from multiple injuries and blood loss.

The dog attacked police officers when they arrived on the scene and they were forced to attempt to distract it before an armed unit arrived.

A marksman had to shoot the dog twice after it continued to approach following the first strike, the court was told.

clifford clarke death

Della Woods (second left) and Hayley Sulley (second right)

The Presa Canario cross-breed dog had earlier escaped from the garden of his next-door neighbour.

Hayley Sulley, 30, of Richard Kelly Close, and Della Woods, 29, of Swallowhurst Crescent, Norris Green, admitted an offence under the Dangerous Dogs Act of allowing a dog to enter a place where it was not allowed to be and where it injured a person.

On Tuesday, both women wept in the dock at Liverpool Crown Court as Judge Mark Brown told them Mr Clarke's death was "entirely avoidable" and sentenced them to a year in prison each.

They had left the dog, Charlie, unattended in the garden on a hot day last May without water and shade while they went to a barbecue.

Both women, who are in a relationship, were told by the judge that they were fortunate not to have been charged with manslaughter.

Judge Brown said: "I am satisfied that this dreadful and fatal attack on Mr Clarke was entirely avoidable.

"Clarke was literally eaten alive by Charlie when large parts of tissue were ingested by the dog. That was a very shocking, appalling and tragic event.

"It is very fortunate that nobody else was seriously hurt because the dog was completely out of control and extremely dangerous."

Eric Lamb, prosecuting, said the Presa Canario entered the garden through a gap in the fence.

He said Mr Clarke was "something of an athlete in his younger days" but more recently had two hip replacements and suffered from diabetes and arthritis.

On the night before his death, he celebrated his birthday at his local pub and was in "good spirits", said the prosecutor.

clifford clarke

Clifford Clarke

The court heard that at about 8.30pm a neighbour, Michael Rankin, heard a shout of "get off me".

Mr Lamb said: "He ran out and he saw Cliff Clarke lying down and the dog pulling his arm off.

"Mr Rankin ran back in and with great presence of mind he called the police."

The prosecutor added: "He described it as the dog was basically eating Charlie's arm and it had a go at his other arm."

Another witness compared it to watching "a horror film".

When armed police officers arrived, the dog jumped and bit the end of a rifle.

Mr Lamb said: "The dog was so aggressive that after it was shot once, the dog got up and was shot again for a second time."

He said Mr Clarke was taken to hospital but never regained consciousness.

His left arm had been amputated from the elbow while his right arm was said to be "hanging by a thread".

There were also numerous wounds to his head and body. Both defendants came home and were arrested.

It was discovered that Charlie had not been fed for at least 45 hours.

In his victim impact statement, Mr Clarke's brother Kenny said the family was "devastated" and said he had struggled to sleep and lost three stone in weight since his brother's death.

He added: "My brother did not deserve this. It must have been the most horrific death in peacetime. While we cannot bring my brother back, I think we should make sure this should not happen again."

Outside court following sentencing, he said: "There are no winners. If they can afford the dog, they can afford a muzzle."

Both defendants wrote a letter to the judge in which they expressed their shame, sadness and "genuine remorse".

Both were banned from keeping dogs for life.