A man is jailed for killing his 85-year-old great grandmother with American bulldogs in the back yard

A MAN was jailed for the murder of his great-gran in her garden by two American bulldogs.

Lucille downer, 85 years old, was murdered by her dogs in Rowley Regis (West Midlands) on 2 April 2021.

Lucille Downer was mauled to death by two American bulldogs


Lucille downer was murdered by two American BulldogsCredit: SWNS
Darren Pritchard has been jailed over Lucille's death


Darren Pritchard is in jail for Lucille Pritchard’s deathCredit: PA

Darren Pritchard (44), was today jailed for owning and controlling two dogs that were dangerously out of hand.

The drug was produced at an address on the street of Rowley Regis, where Lucille downer had been pronounced dead. He admitted to possessing the cannabis with the intent to sell it.

Wolverhampton Crown Court heard Pritchard’s dementia-stricken 85-year old next door neighbour suffered fatal neck injuries when the dogs attacked her.

In the UK, it is legal to keep both American Bulldogs.

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Howard Searle (prosecuting) told the jury that Pritchard, who was working, had been present when the animals broke through the fence into Mrs Downer’s yard and “mauled” her.

The left leg of the victim and her neck’s left side were severely injured.

The neighbours reported that they heard screaming, and believed Mrs Downer had fallen.

The daughter of a pensioner who lives nearby, and takes care of her mother, along with her, visited her home, where one dog was attacking the woman.

Mr Searle stated: “One dog held her neck and pulled her side-to-side.

The dog was dragging and mauling Ms Downer. “The other dog was covered in blood, which suggests a joint assault.”

A neighbour was trying to distract the dogs with dog biscuits while the neighbours, Mrs Downer and her daughter, retreated inside and blocked the door using a wheelie-bin.

Court heard also that the paramedics couldn’t help Mrs Downer, until Pritchard returned to his home and took away her dogs.

When Pritchard was arrested and his house searched, police discovered bags of cannabis with an estimated street value of just under £20,000.

They also found 10 to 12 cannabis plants in the loft and around £35,000 in bundles of cash.

M. Searle, the prosecutor, told the court that neighbors had seen Pritchard “repeatedly hit” one of his dogs on an occasion and “goad” another dog while the animal was attached to a cord leash.

A neighbour reported that he contacted the RSPCA when he saw the dogs outside, in the cold.

Pritchard stated that during an interview with the police, he didn’t muzzle the dogs because he believed they weren’t aggressive.

He acknowledged that dogs have escaped in the past into gardens near by.

Morgan Pirone, the lawyer for Pritchard said that his client was not “under any illusion” about going to jail and expressed regret over what had occurred.

His actions on April 2, 2021 destroyed the Downer families, he said. He has caused irreparable damage.

He was acquainted with Mrs Downer over a period of seven years. “He cannot forgive or forget what happened.”

Michael Chambers KC sentenced Pritchard for carrying a large bag into court with him. He said Mrs Downer had been the victim of a “heartbreaking and prolonged attack”.

He explained: “Only several weeks ago, the dogs had managed to get into another neighbor’s yard.

“What happened was totally predictable. Lucille Downer, 85, was a respected and well-lived lady.

The death of a person in these circumstances would be tragic for anyone, but for someone with dementia it must have been shocking.

The dogs broke through the fence to attack her. They were free to roam.

The only way anyone could get to them was when you intervened after returning home. This is an indication of the ferocity they displayed. The injuries that were sustained are horrific.

Pritchard served 45 months of jail time for an offence committed under the Dangerous Dogs Act. He also received 12 months’ imprisonment for drug-related offenses, both to run concurrently.

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The court ordered that he serve the first half of his sentence behind bars, and then the second on probation.

West Midlands Police previously announced that after the incident, the dogs had been humanely killed.

Cops found cannabis and bundles of cash at Pritchard's home


Pritchard was found to have cannabis, cash and other items at his homeSWNS

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