Dad jailed after newborn son mauled to death by pet dog in Sunderland home

Ryan Young
Ryan Young

A heartbroken dad has been jailed over the death of his newborn son who was mauled to death by his dangerously out of control dog whilst he slept.

Little Reggie Young was just three weeks old when he was viciously attacked by the family Lakeland Terrier cross, Tricky, at his home in the early hours of June 20, 2015.

The tiny tot did not survive the injuries that he suffered whilst in the care of his father Ryan Young - who slept through the "gothic horror" attack because he had downed at least eight cans of Fosters.

The 32-year-old initially denied a charge of being the owner of a dog which caused injury resulting in death whilst dangerously out of control, but pleaded guilty on the day of his trial.

Prosecutor Shaun Dodds told Newcastle Crown Court how the child's mother, Maria Blacklin, had lost her grandmother just hours before the fatal dog attack - and so she left Young in care of Reggie whilst she grieved with her family.

However when the mother returned to the family home, on Falkland Road, Sunderland, she found Reggie in a "pool of blood" with the defendant still asleep on the sofa.

He said: "The dog had attacked the baby and the defendant slept through it.

"The dog attacked Reggie in his sleep causing serious injury from which he later died.

"The dog's predatory instinct would have been easily interrupted by saying stop.

"The prosecution say that had the defendant not been asleep in drink then he would have been able to stop the attack."

Young, who could clearly be seen praying in the dock, loudly sobbed and was clearly distressed throughout the harrowing hearing.

In mitigation, Caroline Goodwin, QC, said: "It was all the more harrowing for the family when he carried the coffin in before the service.

"This is a life sentence for him.

"Nothing I say or nothing he can ever do can turn back the clock and bring back that child.

"He is struck with grief, regret and emotion. He is devastated.

"The dog behaved naturally and instinctively on that night.

"This was just a calamity because there was drink involved. The problem was that the defendant was not in any position to deal with it.

"There is nothing that can punish him more than the punishment that he is administering to himself."

The court heard how the father had previous convictions for being drunk and disorderly - but nothing in relation to being in charge of dogs or children.

Jailing him for 21 months, Judge Tim Gittins, said: "The day and night of June 20 proved to be a double tragedy for Maria Blacklin.

"She was grieving the death of her grandmother with relatives and left you in charge of the house.

"It was clear that Reggie would need care and attention but despite that you decided to drink to excess with a friend.

"Reggie was subjected to the most torturous and confusing attack. He suffered gross injuries.

"It was a sustained attack that you could have stopped at any time.

Reggie Young

Reggie Young

"There was clearly a failure, a catastrophic failure, to intervene in the attack.

"It is clear that you are struggling to cope with this even after two years."

The court was told that Young is suffering from depression and post traumatic stress.

Young was also handed a seven day sentence to run concurrently for failing to provide a specimen to officers following his arrest.

He was also disqualified for keeping dogs for the next seven years.