Neighbours of four-year-old girl killed in dog attack ‘thought screams were from TV’
Neighbours of a four-year-old girl who was killed in a dog attack have said they thought screams heard at the time were coming from a television.
Armed police were called to a property in Milton Keynes, Bucks, at 5pm on Tuesday following the death of Alice Stones after neighbours overheard a woman yelling: “My baby, she’s dead.”
Alice was killed by an American bulldog at the terraced property in the Broadlands area of the town, residents said. A police marksman destroyed the rescue centre animal, which the family were reported to have owned for six to eight weeks.
One neighbour recalled hearing a “high-pitched squeal” that “went on and on” at the time of the incident, which they thought “was from someone’s telly”.
“I opened my window and could just hear screaming and sobbing,” the neighbour said. “I didn’t know what was going on. My friend who lives nearer the house says she heard a woman shouting ‘my baby, she’s dead, she’s dead’ over and over. It’s just awful.”
The house remained taped off on Wednesday, with a forensic tent by the back garden and a uniformed officer at the front of the property. Officers in white forensic suits were seen entering the building in the afternoon.
Floral tributes were left outside, with one 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.”
No one else was hurt in the attack, and the child’s family are being supported by specially trained officers. No arrests have been made.
Rita Matthews, a neighbour, said she would see Alice while walking her daughter to school.
“I know the girl. It’s so sad to hear that news,” she added. “She was always holding her mummy’s hand on the way back. It’s so sad we’re not going to see the girl again and I pray all the best to her mum to get her strength back.”
Ms Matthews, a mother of four, described the youngster as “a happy little girl, very happy”.
Iain Stewart, the Conservative MP for Milton Keynes South, raised the incident at Prime Minister's Questions in the Commons and Rishi Sunak joined him in sending condolences.
Supt Marc Tarbit, of Thames Valley Police, said: “Just after 5pm on Tuesday afternoon, officers were called to a property in the Broadlands area where it was reported a child was attacked by a dog in a back garden.
“A four-year-old was pronounced dead at the scene. The child’s family are being supported by specially trained officers. An investigation is fully under way. We currently believe this was a tragic isolated incident and there is no threat to the wider community.
“Accordingly, no arrests have been made at his time. I can confirm the dog was a family pet and was put down by police at the scene yesterday evening.
“This is clearly an incident that has shocked and upset people, and I urge residents to speak to officers with any questions or concerns they may have.
“I would ask the community in their support about not speculating about this matter and I offer reassurance that detectives are working hard to progress the investigation.”