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'The flesh was falling off baby Isabella's arm'

The parents whose sleeping baby twins were attacked by a fox said it was probably a "freak occurrence" but they are still too frightened to leave doors and windows open.

Pauline and Nick Koupparis describe flesh falling off nine-month-old Isabella's arm as if "it had been through a cheese grater" and Lola's face covered in blood after the attack.

The couple gave their first interview about the attack as part of a TV documentary.

Some people openly doubted the couple's story about how the twins came to be injured and Mrs Koupparis describes her distress at receiving Facebook messages accusing her of lying.





Crying

The couple, who also have a five-year-old son Max, said they have not owned a pet cat or dog for almost five years and did not encourage foxes to visit their garden.

Mr and Mrs Koupparis said they put the twins in their separate cots upstairs after having a barbecue supper on June 5.

Leftover food was cooling on the kitchen table and they had left the patio doors open as it was a warm evening.

Just before 10pm they heard one of the twins crying through the baby monitor and Mrs Koupparis went upstairs and found the twins bleeding and a fox at the end of Lola's cot.

The couple said the animal stood its ground and only ran off when Mr Koupparis threw something at it as he held Isabella in his arms, blood seeping through her sleepsuit.

He then called 999 and said he had to keep repeating that a fox had attacked his children because the emergency services operator could not believe what they were hearing.

Isabella suffered terrible arm injuries, the extent of which was only apparent when her clothing was removed.

Mrs Koupparis said: "Her arm was open and bits of her flesh were literally just dropping on to Nick's leg.

"It looked like it had been through a cheese grater."

Lola's face was bitten and her eyelid badly torn.

The twins are still undergoing a course of rabies injections and this week their parents were told Isabella -- whose left arm and hand were severely injured -- will need to see specialists until her late teens.

In the two weeks following the attack, six foxes were trapped in the family's garden and humanely destroyed but the family say they were not prepared for the furious reaction.





Slashed

Mrs Koupparis said: "We had a police guard on the front door 24/7 for about three or four days and a panic alarm installed in the house because there were lots of things on websites and the tyres had been slashed on the side of the street, and they were just concerned that it could potentially be animal activists."

She said she felt sick when police officers told her a fox tried to get in the house as their daughters were being treated by the ambulance crew. And she admitted she is still nervous about leaving doors or windows open. The Fox Attack Twins is on BBC One at 7pm today.

hnews@herald.ie


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