A schoolboy was mauled to death by a family friend’s pitbull after being left alone in a caravan with the dog, an inquest heard.
Frankie MacRitchie, nine, received fatal head injuries after being attacked by the 99-pound American bulldog cross Staffordshire bull terrier in April 2019.
The young lad, from Plymouth, had been staying in the caravan at Tencreek Holiday Park in Looe, Cornwall with his mum, Tawney Willis, and her friend Sadie Totterdell.
Totterdell had rented the caravan from April 7 for a holiday and was joined by Frankie and Willis on April 11, Cornwall Coroner’s Court heard.
The next day Totterdell brought the dog, named Winston, to the caravan and they all went out to the park’s social club before returning about midnight.
Later on, the pals joined friends in a neighbouring caravan to continue drinking, leaving Frankie with Winston.
The pair got drunk and Willis also admitted taking cocaine, Truro Crown Court heard previously.
Friend Cheryl Crocker said Willis left the caravan a couple of times to check on her son, and she heard screaming the first time the mum became aware of the tragedy, the inquest was told.
Cheryl said: “Tawney came running in screaming. Tawney kept screaming and screaming and she needed to find Frankie’s nan.
Her partner Jordan Pearce added: “We were all sat in our caravan when Tawney went out to check and I could hear something, so I turned the music down and didn’t hear anything.
“We put the music back on and heard a scream and she literally ran in through the door and that’s when we knew.”
Jordan said that after the attack, Totterdell fled the caravan park, taking Winston with her.
He said: “I remember Sadie coming towards our caravan and saying, ‘What do I do? I’m going to take him and kill him’.
“She tried getting the dog into our caravan and I remember kicking the dog out and saying the dog’s not coming in here, and that’s when she just disappeared, and no one knew where she went.”
Emergency services were alerted shortly before 5am on April 13 after Tawney returned to the caravan and discovered Frankie lying on the kitchen floor covered in blood.
Emergency first responders and paramedics arrived and attempted resuscitation, but Frankie was declared dead at 5.35am.
Dr Deborah Cook, a Home Office registered forensic pathologist, said Frankie had died from blood loss caused by multiple dog bites.
She said: “The wounds have the characteristics of dog bites in a mauling type of attack.
“The concentration of the injuries over the head and the neck is in keeping with the recognised behaviour of dogs in the attack.”
Frankie had appeared to have suffered defensive bite wounds, so may have attempted to fight off the attack, Dr Cook said.
Frankie had been born with a congenital heart condition and was prescribed warfarin for thinning his blood, but this was not a factor in his death.
Dr Cook added: “The injuries are so devastating and so extensive anyone, a child or adult, would have died from the blood loss.
“Even if it occurred outside the front door of a large hospital, I doubt Frankie could have survived.”
The court heard Willis and Totterdell were later prosecuted and jailed.
The inquest continues.