A woman has been charged over the death of a three-year-old boy who was attacked by a dog in Essex.
Mother-of-three Jade Dunne, 29, has been charged with owning a dog dangerously out of control that resulted in the death of three-year-old Dexter Neal, Essex Police said.
Dexter died after he was bitten at Dunne's home in Halstead in August 2016.
The dog, an American Bulldog named Ruby, was seized by officers and later destroyed.
Dunne has been released on bail to appear at Colchester Magistrates' Court on March 27.
Dexter lived around the corner from the semi-detached home with parents Andrew, 36, and Pamela, 43. The couple, who also have a daughter, aged eight, said in a statement: 'When Dexter was born our family became complete and we were happier than we could ever have imagined.
'Watching him grow into such a happy joyful child made every day a pleasure and we felt honoured to have him in our lives.
'Dexter made everyone smile with his beautiful face and cheeky grin. He was always polite and kind to everybody and all who met him fell in love with him. Our lives will never be the same without Dexter, he was the life and soul of our family. Our hearts have been broken and can never be fixed.
'We now have to learn to continue our lives without our cheeky little boy and remember the joy and happiness he brought us in the short time he was allowed to be with us. We love you baby boy always and forever.'
The little boy's uncle Ashley Coe described him as his 'darling nephew' and said that the death was 'absolutely devastating'.
In a post on Facebook, he wrote: 'I can't even begin to describe what state we are all in this is an absolutely devastating loss for my sister and her husband and there's nothing I can say to them.'
Neighbour Phyllis Younger, 82, said she heard 'agonising screams' at around 5.45pm on August 18, with emergency services arriving shortly afterwards.
Ms Younger said: 'Now I know what the scream was, it is absolutely awful. It was like someone was in pain, definitely - agonising screams. It is terrible.'
She added she thought the screams came from outside and added: 'I don't think I would have heard it as clearly if it had been in the house.'
Blood could be seen on the floor of an outhouse at the property, behind the police cordon, including a spatter across a child's toy car, as forensics officers inspected the scene.
It is thought Dexter was one of a number of children playing at the address that afternoon.
Neighbour Scott Nowell, 19, described what he saw on the street in the aftermath of the attack as 'terrible scenes'.
He told the BBC: 'I could hear terrible screams and a man in the house going 'one, two, three, four' - like he was doing chest compressions. The mother was on the front garden, she was down on her knees distraught and covered in blood. The ambulance and the police then came and they took over.
'The dog got quickly taken away - it was terrible, terrible scenes. Everyone was out there trying to help.'
A police cordon was put in place around the semi-detached property where the attack happened, with floral tributes left outside.
Shirley Diver, the mayor of Halstead Town Council, said at the time of the little boy's death: 'It is such a terrible thing to happen anywhere, you just don't expect it to happen in your town. We are a close-knit community, everybody knows everybody.'
An air ambulance was called to the scene, along with two rapid response vehicles, paramedics and an ambulance.
A spokesman said: 'At the scene, a young child was treated for life-threatening injuries before being airlifted to Addenbrooke's Hospital (in Cambridge). Sadly, despite the best efforts of everyone involved, the child has died. Our thoughts are with the family involved at this time.'
A neighbour, who asked not to be named, said the Neal family's home in Ronald Road was extremely close to the address cordoned off by police in Parker Way.
He said: 'The garden backs on to theirs and both families had kids.'
Neighbours said Dexter's mother made a desperate dash to a local shop, which keeps a defibrillator, as she tried to revive him.
The neighbour, who didn't wish to be named, said: 'My kids were playing out the front of the house. The boy's mum came running screaming and shouting 'my boy's not breathing. I need the machine'. She got it and ran back with two people following her.
'Later on the air ambulance landed on the field at the back. Sadly it was too late.'
The Dangerous Dogs Act was brought in 25 years ago to force police and animal rescue organisations to euthanise certain types of dog considered a threat.
But the scope of the Act means that even if there are concerns that a specific dog is dangerous, unless it is a banned breed, the action local authorities can take is limited.
(Daily Mail - Feb 25, 2017)