Two dogs that savaged grandmother to death were XL bullys, police say

By John Mercury February 9, 2024

Two dogs involved in a deadly attack on a grandmother in Essex were XL bullys, police have confirmed.

Esther Martin, 68, was killed at a home in Hillman Avenue, Jaywick, on Saturday after reportedly trying to break up fighting puppies.

Chief Superintendent Stuart Weaver, of the Essex force, said the physical features of the two dogs destroyed at the scene by officers were examined by a police-trained dog expert and a forensic post-mortem was carried out on them by a veterinary scientist.

“Through this combination, it was confirmed that the dogs were XL bullys,” Mr Weaver said.

“I know there has been a huge amount of speculation about the breed and type of dog involved here, but it was really important we got that information right and established the facts.”

Mr Weaver said detectives were making “good progress” in their investigation and officers were continuing to support Ms Martin’s family.

“I again want to express our thanks to the members of the public who bravely tried to save Esther before our officers arrived on scene,” he added.

“What you did was hugely courageous and a reflection of the values of the community of Jaywick.

“I also want to again praise the unflinching bravery and professionalism of the officers who attended and whose actions ensured the community was safe.”

Ashley Warren.
Ashley Warren. Pic: Wylessman/Instagram

The owner of the dogs, Ashley Warren, has said he “didn’t realise they were dangerous” but now believes the breed should be “wiped out”.

Ms Martin had been caring for his 11-year-old son – her grandson – while he was away in London shooting a music video.

Ms Martin’s daughter, the mother of the child, died two years ago.

The 39-year-old rapper was arrested on suspicion of dangerous dog offences and has since been released on conditional bail until 5 March.

The attack came just days after a ban on XL bully-type dogs came into force, meaning it is now a criminal offence to own one of the animals in England and Wales without an exemption certificate.

Unregistered pets can be seized and owners fined and prosecuted.

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Are new XL bully rules enough?

Around 40,000 of the large bulldog-type American breed are believed to have been registered before Wednesday’s deadline, but there may be thousands more without certificates.

The ban on XL bully dogs was introduced after a spate of attacks in recent years.

Read more:
How experts predict XL bully ban will change things in 2024

The breed was added to the Dangerous Dogs Act on 31 October last year when restrictions came into force dictating the dogs must be kept on a lead and muzzled in public.

Breeding, selling or abandoning the dogs also became illegal as of 31 December 2023.

Owners of XL bully dogs in Scotland will also be subject at a later date to the safeguards after Holyrood replicated legislation in place south of the border.

A decision on whether to add to the list of banned breeds in Northern Ireland is for locally elected ministers and is yet to be made.

People with dangerously out-of-control dogs can be jailed for up to 14 years and banned from owning animals, and their pets can be put down.


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