An 11-month-old baby girl, Ava-Jayne Corless, was reportedly mauled to death by a pit bull as she slept, around 11 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 10. The dog’s name was “Killer,” and he belonged to the mother’s live-in boyfriend.
Ava-Jayne's mother, Chloe King, 20, was first arrested on suspicion of child neglect but was later re-arrested for manslaughter.
Lee Wright, 26, (not the father of Ava-Jayne), who owns the dog and reportedly lives with King at the house where the attack occurred, was also arrested on suspicion of manslaughter. Both are being questioned about the circumstances of the tragic death of the baby, according to Lancashire police.
Police said Ava-Jayne was upstairs in a bedroom at the front of the house on Emily Street in Blackburn, Lancashire, U.K., while her mother and Wright were downstairs.
"The baby was taken to Royal Blackburn Hospital but sadly passed away a short time later," a Lancashire police spokesman said.
Ava-Jayne's father, Dean Corless, 24, today paid tribute to his daughter.
"I am absolutely devastated," he said. "I found out late last night and rushed to the hospital to see her … She was the most beautiful and adorable little girl, she was just the best. She was my whole world."
Neighbors reported that the dog was “going wild” and barking loudly; emergency responders and police could not enter the house for a long time because of this. Neighbor Brian Harrison said that the pit bull had killed a cat last year but “nothing was done.”
Killer, the pit bull, was seized by police after being tranquilized. More evidence is being gathered regarding the crime.
Corless said that he and King, who is originally from London, met on Facebook and dated for four years before they split in the summer. He said he only saw the baby on weekends.
"But I will miss her every single day,” Corless said. “ I just don't know what to do now. It is just so tragic. I have my family around me now, but we are all devastated."
"I just can't believe it, it's such a shock," grandmother Bernadette Corless, 51, said. "She was so young. It is so unfair for a baby to be taken away at that age. "She was just beautiful - like a china doll. She was a lively baby and was always happy."
"I am just upset because she always told me that she would check with me before Ava-Jayne spent time around other men," Dean Corless said.