Man bailed after grandmother killed by two 'XL bully' dogs

A man has been bailed after a grandmother was killed by two dogs at the weekend.

Esther Martin, 68, was attacked inside a house in Jaywick, Essex, on Saturday afternoon after reportedly trying to break up fighting puppies.

She had been visiting her 11-year-old grandson when the tragedy occurred, with neighbours describing "horrific" screaming.

A 39-year-old man who was arrested on suspicion of dangerous dog offences has been released on conditional bail until 5 March, Essex Police said on Monday.

He was known to the victim.

Ms Martin's daughter Sonia Martin, said the dogs were of the XL bully breed - which was banned at the start of this month - with a total of six puppies and two adult dogs in the property.

However, Acting Detective Superintendent Stuart Truss said investigators are working with experts to confirm the breed of the dogs.

"We're making good progress in our investigation into Esther's death," he said.

"It is an investigation with a number of complexities, but we are determined to give Esther's family the answers they need.

"We are working with experts to confirm the breed of the dogs. This may take some days but it's really important we get it right.

"I would ask people not to speculate about this element - we will establish the facts and we will keep the community in Jaywick updated."

Ms Martin's daughter told the BBC: "There were adult XL bully dogs in the property, and my mum had raised concerns to the owners about them being dangerous and quite aggressive."

She said her mother, from Woodford Green in London, had been "getting her life back together" following the death of another daughter two years ago.

"It's killed our mum and it's killed our children's grandmother. I'm getting married in a couple of years and my mum won't be at that," she added.

Chief Superintendent Glen Pavelin said both of the animals were "destroyed inside the house" after officers arrived at the scene.

He told reporters on Sunday: "Their unflinching bravery and professionalism ensured that there is no ongoing threat to the people of Essex as a result of this incident.

"I would also like to thank local people who tried to get into the house to help Esther Martin, you should be proud."

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Although the breed involved is yet to be established, the attack comes just days after the ban on XL bully-type dogs came into force after a spate of attacks in recent years.

It means 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.

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.