Alice Stones,4, killed by family dog in Milton Keynes garden attack

Tragic four-year-old Alice Stones was killed by new family dog in savage garden attack, police confirm: Officers probe ‘tragic isolated’ mauling by ‘American bulldog’ as devastated little girl’s family pay tribute

  • Alice Stones was mauled to death by family’s dog at her Milton Keynes home
  • Her family have paid tribute to her and flowers and toys have been left outside
  • After the attack, her mother was heard desperately screaming: ‘She’s dead!’

The dog which mauled tragic four-year-old Alice Stones to death last night was a family pet, police have said.

The animal was put down by armed police on Tuesday evening after officers were called to a house in Broadlands, Netherfield, Milton Keynes, by the ambulance service.

Thames Valley Police said no arrests have been made and that investigators are working to establish the breed of the dog. However, neighbours claimed that the dog was an American bulldog. 

The end-of-terrace home remained taped off on Wednesday, with a forensic tent by the back garden and a uniformed officer and marked police van at the front of the property. 

Giving an update, Superintendent Marc Tarbit said: ‘The child’s family are being supported by specially trained officers and we’d ask that their privacy is respected. An investigation is currently under way to fully understand the circumstances but we currently believe that this was a tragic, isolated incident and there is no threat to the wider community. 

The dog at the centre of a fatal attack on a four-year-old girl Alice Stones (pictured) in Milton Keynes last night was a family pet, police said

An aerial view of the back garden where Alice Stones was killed by her family’s dog last night

‘Accordingly, no arrests have been made at this time. I can confirm that the dog was a family pet and was put down by police on the scene yesterday evening.’

Mr Tarbit, local policing area commander for Milton Keynes, said the incident in a back garden – in which no-one else was hurt – had ‘shocked and upset people’ as he urged residents to speak to officers with any questions or concerns.

Why are deadly dog attacks on the rise? READ MORE HERE 

American Bully-type dog Cookie-Doe (pictured) was put down by a veterinarian at the scene after he bit Keven Jones, 62, to death

He also asked the public not to speculate about what had happened and called for the girl’s family’s privacy to be respected.

Alice’s heartbroken family are paying tribute to the young child. 

Floral tributes to the youngster have piled up outside the house, with one of them reading: ‘Alice!! Fly high with the angels little one. The whole community will miss your smile. Our thoughts are with the whole family, especially her mum.’

Police said there will be an increased presence of officers in the area with ‘reassurance patrols during early shifts and late shifts’.

Forensic teams in white suits arrived today to carry out a detailed examination of the back garden where the attack took place. A blue tent could be seen outside the entrance to the back garden.

One neighbour told MailOnline that Alice was attacked by what is claimed to be an American bulldog that the family had got from a rescue centre. It is reported that the family only had the dog a matter of weeks – possibly two months, and even as few as six weeks. 

Thames Valley Police have so far refused to identify the breed or if it had been owned by the family.

A family member told MailOnline: ‘We’re just trying to come to terms with what has happened. It’s horrendous.’ 

The family dog that mauled Alice was said to be an ‘America bulldog’ (stock photo)

Alice Stones, four, was pronounced dead at the scene after having been seriously injured in the attack in the back garden of her home in Broadlands, Netherfield

Commander Superintendent Mark Tarbit reads at statement about the death of Alice Stones in Broadlands, Netherfield who was killed by a dog last night where he confirmed the animal was a family pet

Police are at a home in Broadlands, Netherfield, Milton Keynes, today after a four-year-old girl died yesterday following reports of a dog attack in the back garden of the property

Locals left flowers outside the house this morning in remembrance of Alice, as the community mourns her unexpected death. 

Local ward councillor Donna Fuller said Alice’s tragic death will devastate the community.

READ MORE: Four-year-old girl is mauled to death in dog attack in Milton Keynes back garden 

Officers were called by the ambulance service shortly past 5pm Tuesday after a report that a dog had attacked a child in the back garden of a property in Broadlands, Netherfield (pictured)

She said: ‘There is an overwhelming sense of sadness and shock this has happened. We are a very well established community in one of the oldest parts of Milton Keynes. I did not know the family but my heart goes out to them.’

One neighbour, who asked not to be named and who knew Alice said she was a ‘lovely little girl.’

‘Mum was quiet, I used to say hello to her in the mornings – I don’t think ever saw them with any dog,’ the neighbour added.

Nassir Mahdi, 42, whose garden almost overlooks the scene, said: ‘It’s awful, that girl is so innocent. My daughter is three, so about the same age (as the victim), and I’ve never let her out to play in the park because the dogs are out all the time. Big dogs, so many of them are not on leads here. People say ‘it’s okay, it’s a family dog’ but I don’t think you can trust them.’

Rishi Sunak sent his condolences to the family at Prime Minister’s Questions after Conservative MP for Milton Keynes South Iain Stewart told the Commons: ‘Today in my constituency there is a great sense of shock and disbelief following last night’s horrific dog attack that killed a four-year-old girl.

‘The police investigation is still going on and it wouldn’t be appropriate to speculate on the circumstances but it would mean a great deal if on behalf of the House the Prime Minister could send our condolences to the family and to the community and to thank the emergency services for dealing with the situation with their customary compassion and professionalism.’

Mr Sunak replied: ‘I thank him and send my condolences, and I am sure the whole House’s condolences, to the girl’s family and the community after this horrific incident.

‘I join him in thanking the emergency services, they have responded rapidly and professionally and I know that he himself will be supporting them and his constituents during this difficult time.’

Officers and paramedics responded to the home in Broadlands, Netherfield, just after 5pm yesterday after receiving reports that a dog had attacked a child in the back garden

A forensic tent and police van are seen today outside of the back garden where Alice Stones was killed by a dog last night

Milton Keynes residents have created a makeshift memorial to the little girl. They are pictured laying flowers near the house today

Flowers are placed today near the house where Alice Stones was mauled to death by a dog

The dog attacked Alice in her family’s home last night. Armed police cornered the dog and destroyed it. 

Thames Valley Police has said no arrests have been made as they investigate the attack in Buckinghamshire.

Residents have described Alice’s mother’s ‘desperate screams’ as her child was killed by the animal, which neighbours claimed the family bought about six weeks ago.

One said she would be haunted by the mother’s cries, adding: ‘I heard, ‘She’s dead! She’s dead!’. They’ll stay with me forever. It was a nightmare. I’m heartbroken. They will haunt me.’

Police say no one else was hurt and the girl’s family is being supported by specially trained officers. Detectives remain at the scene today as their investigation into the incident continues.

‘At first I thought the noise was from someone’s telly,’ a neighbour said today, recalling the screams coming from the property at the time of the attack.

‘I opened my window and could just hear screaming and sobbing. I didn’t know what was going on.’

Officers and paramedics responded to the home just after 5pm yesterday after receiving reports that a dog had attacked a child in the back garden of a property.

Armed officers swooped on the property ‘very quickly’ and ordered neighbours to stay indoors before the animal was ‘humanely destroyed’ by a police marksman. 

Officers are pictured at the home this morning, which is still cordoned off

Neighbours were ordered to stay indoors as police cornered the animal before ‘humanely’ destroying it. Pictured: Thames Valley Police at the scene of the attack

Community members said the neighbourhood was ‘basically on lockdown’ as police responded to the scene.

A neighbour whose children went to school with Alice told The Sun that residents were instructed by police to stay inside in case the dog escaped.

An officer reportedly said: ‘If this dog gets out, somebody is going to get hurt.’ 

The neighbour described the animal as a ‘big brown dog’ that the family seemingly got as a pet a few weeks back. The resident said they had ‘only seen it at the house’.

The family’s next door neighbour said he tried to look at his back garden but was ordered to go back inside. 

About an hour later, armed officers reportedly knocked on his door and asked to come into his home so they could look at the layout of the property to ‘get an idea of what next door would look like’.

Shortly afterwards, police reportedly advised him that it was ‘best if I leave the house’.

A female resident added: ‘I had no idea what was going on, but there were a dozen police cars and three ambulances with their blue lights on.

‘I heard a policeman shouting in the street, ‘Stay inside, do not come out’. A friend of mine said another officer warned them to expect a gunshot.

‘It was absolutely terrifying and I locked my front and back doors just in case. At that stage I didn’t know they were after a dog.’

Residents were instructed by police to stay inside in case the dog escaped. Pictured: Police at the scene last night

Forensic tents and police vehicles are pictured at the scene in Milton Keynes last night

Floral tributes and teddy bears were left outside the house today in remembrance of young Alice.

One message read: ‘Rest in Peace Beautiful girl.’

Another signed from residents in Netherfield read: ‘Thinking of you at this sad time.’

Neighbour and mother-of-four Rita Matthews, 36, told MailOnline that she would walk most mornings to the local primary school with Alice’s mother, Louise.

‘Alice was their only child. My daughter went to the same school and we would often walk together,’ she said.

‘I never saw her with a dog, and she had never mentioned that they had got one.

‘It is just heart-breaking and I cannot imagine what Louise is going through. That poor girl.’ 

Ms Matthews also said she heard Alice screaming from the garden last night, but ‘didn’t know what was going on.’

‘Lots of police cars turned up and we were all told to stay inside. I then saw on Facebook what had happened and was shocked,’ she added.

‘I feel so sad because I have four children and I feel for the little girl’s mother.

‘I wish the mother strength.’

Michelle Kitchener, 54, said Alice lived in the house with Louise, who is reportedly a single parent.

The mother-of-two added: ‘The mum always kept herself to herself, but I would sometimes see her drop the little girl off at nursery or school.

‘I have never seen or heard a dog bark coming from that house. I didn’t even know they had a dog.’

The child was pronounced dead at the scene after having been seriously injured in the attack. Her official cause of death has not been disclosed. Police are pictured at the scene yesterday

A bouquet of flowers was left near the scene last night in remembrance of the four-year-old girl who was killed by the dog

Floral tributes and teddy bears were left outside the house today in remembrance of young Alice. One message read: ‘Rest in Peace Beautiful girl’

Police carried out house-to-house inquiries today as they investigated Alice’s death. 

Officers went door to door on the estate asking residents if they had ever seen the dog before or knew if it had previously attacked anyone.

Lesley Dwyer, 65, told MailOnline today: ‘We came along past the house last night and heard a dog barking in the garden.

‘It sounded like it was quite excited, it was growling and barking. I didn’t see it, but it sounded like a big dog – we have a dog and you can tell.

‘There are quite a lot of dogs around here but I didn’t think they had one – they’ve not been here very long.’

She added:’ It is just really sad.’

A community candlelit vigil has been organised tonight for 7pm at the Grand Union Vineyard chapel on the Netherfield estate, which is opposite Alice’s home.

‘It is a very visible way to show the family we care,’ Councillor Fuller said. 

‘It will help people process their own shock and show the family that they are thinking of them at this terrible time.’

She added: ‘Netherfield is a very tight-knit estate and the whole community is grieving. There is a profound sense of sadness and shock at what has happened.’ 

The Broadlands house is a council property and council leader Pete Marland said that support would be offered to the grieving family and the wider community.

‘My heart goes out to the family and friends of the child who has lost their life in this awful tragedy,’ he said. ‘We will make sure MKCC will provide any support that is wanted and required for the family and the community.’

Neighbours lay flowers at a makeshift memorial outside a home in Milton Keynes this morning in remembrance of a four-year-old girl who was mauled to death by a dog

Flowers at the scene in Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, where a four-year-old girl has died following reports of a dog attack

A tribute signed from residents in Netherfield read: ‘Thinking of you at this sad time’ 

The wave of support comes after Thames Valley Police Superintendent Matt Bullivant described the incident as ‘absolutely tragic’ last night.

‘Clearly we are in the very early stages of an investigation, and it would be wrong and unhelpful to speculate as to the exact circumstances of this incident at this point,’ he said after the incident.

‘However, in order to ensure public safety, a decision was made earlier this evening to destroy the dog involved, and this has been done humanely.

‘I understand how much of an impact this will have on the community and on the wider public, and people can expect to see a large police presence in the area this evening and beyond while our investigation continues.’

Superintendent Bullivant continued: ‘I would like to reassure people that there is no reason to believe there is any danger to the wider public at this time.

‘Anyone with concerns should feel free to approach our officers and ask questions, but I urge people not to speculate about the circumstances, especially on social media platforms.

‘I also understand that this case is likely to attract attention from the media. With this in mind I would like to ask that the privacy of the family involved is respected at this very difficult time. It is impossible to imagine what they must be going through at the moment.’

The force urged anyone with information about the incident to call 101 quoting reference number 20230131-1546 or to call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. Reports can also be made online.

Why are deadly dog attacks on the rise? Experts warn celebrity dog ear-cropping trend, lockdown puppy farms and TikTok are fuelling rise in injuries and deaths 

By Jacob Thorburn for MailOnline

A leading academic has warned Britain is in the midst of a public health crisis as the number of deadly dog attacks continues to rise.

Dr John Tulloch, a veterinary public health expert at the University of Liverpool, authored a 2021 research paper that revealed a startling rise in the number of dog bite incidents over the past 20 years.

He told MailOnline that although wider research into the cause of this explosion in these attacks was limited, there had been an emergence of ‘worrying’ trends that he has witnessed in more recent dog ownership. 

Possible explanations include broader changes in society, with more dogs now being bought from unregulated or overseas breeders, or the way in which people interact with their pets – fuelled by TikTok trends or videos hoping to garner likes online. 

Schoolboy Jack Lis, 10, was mauled to death by an XXL Bully-breed in November 2021

Little Rae Birch was just 17-months-old when she was killed after suffering serious injuries from a bite caused by an American Bully XL breed

Ann Dunn, 65, was another victim of a brutal dog attack, described by police as an American Bulldog-style breed

Dr Tulloch told MailOnline: ‘In the last 20 years or so there’s been a definite rise in cases of severe dog attacks, it has been creeping up and up and up and we should be calling it what it is, a growing public health problem.

‘In most cases, it’s a dog that is known to the victim as these events are occurring behind closed doors. 

‘Children still account for around 25 per cent of hospital admission due to dog bites, but we need to understand why adults are being attacked more now, it’s a striking problem. 

‘And more deprived areas of the country have higher dog bite hospitalisation rates compared to the least deprived communities, which had the lowest.’

Responding to the rising number of fatalities last year, DEFRA said it was ‘exploring measures to reduce dog attacks and promote responsible ownership’.

James McNally, dubbed Britain’s ‘dog bite solicitor’ and a personal injury claim expert with Slee Blackwell Solicitors, has said he’s seen a rise in the number of dog bite claims in recent years.

He told MailOnline how he currently has more than 180 clients and his inbox is ballooning with fresh enquiries every day.

Mr McNally said: ‘Some of the worst injuries we’re seeing are by those beloved household pets, Collies, Jack Russells, Huskies. Any dog can cause injury at any time.

‘We’ve had a lady who lost the tip of her nose, delivery drivers missing fingers. There are cases we’re dealing with where a child has been scalped by the dog and suffered serious facial injuries – they’re all horrible.

‘In a lot of the cases we’re seeing, the way I see it is that it’s the family dogs. 

‘I think the pandemic puppy boom has probably contributed to the rising number of dog bites, experts have raised huge concerns about puppy farms and I think a lot of us are just not aware of this entire world of dog breeding. 

‘Ultimately, it’s a bit of a Wild West out there. We had the wrong dogs, being bred by the wrong people, going to the wrong homes. 

‘It’s a recipe for disaster and was fuelling the fire.’

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