Family devastated by death of girl (14) mauled by dogs
THE family of a girl who is thought to have been killed by a pack of dogs has been left "devastated", police said today.
Jade Anderson, 14, was discovered with wounds consistent with a dog attack at a house in Greater Manchester yesterday
It is thought the teenager was visiting the property in Chaucer Grove, Atherton, near Wigan, and was alone with four dogs - believed to be two bull mastiffs and two Staffordshire bull terriers - which were later shot by police marksmen.
A fifth dog was contained at the scene.
Superintendent Mark Kenny of Greater Manchester Police said: "This remains a deeply distressing incident for everyone involved and the wider community and our thoughts continue to be with Jade's family.
"They are understandably devastated by what has happened, as are Jade's circle of friends."
Mr Kenny said Jade's family was receiving the support of a police Family Liaison Officer as the investigation into the circumstances continues.
He added: "Our response is now two-fold - to continue to provide whatever support is necessary to the family alongside a painstaking investigation to establish the truth of what happened.
"With that in mind we still have a small scene at the house and residents will continue to see an increased police presence today and in the coming days.
"A post mortem will be carried out later today after which we hope to know more about how Jade died.
"Part of the investigation will also look at the breed of dogs, which have yet to be confirmed."
Police attended the house shortly after 2pm yesterday after a report of a teenage girl being seen unconscious, and a number of dogs being out of control.
Officers were confronted by dogs that were aggressive and out of control, GMP said.
Police marksmen "humanely" destroyed four of the animals.
Jade was a pupil at Fred Longworth High School in Tyldesley, where the head teacher, Jan Garretts, led tributes to the youngster.
Ms Garretts said: "We are all deeply shocked and saddened by Jade's tragic death.
"She had only been a pupil at the school since the summer but had made a real impact in that short time.
"Jade was a lively student who always had a smile on her face.
"She loved music and dance and was a regular at our after school dancing club.
"At what turned out to be her last day at school, Jade was given a progress report by her teachers and was told that everyone was delighted with the progress she was making.
"She will be greatly missed by the school community.
"Our thoughts and sympathies are with her family and friends at this terrible time."
Well wishers and members of the community also left flowers and soft toys outside the house on Chaucer Grove.
One message, attached to a pink teddy bear, read: "We were blessed to have known you, you were a smart girl forever in our hearts.
"Simply the best. God bless from Peter, Nicola, Grandad Jack, Samuel and Lilly Rose.
"God bless your family."
Another card said: "To Jade. RIP Princess. We had lots of fun times together, I will miss you. Jessica W."
Local resident Deanne Bamber, 19, who owns six dogs, including a Border Collie, Shih Tzus and Lhasa Apsos, said Jade's death was "awful".
"I was crying my eyes out when I heard about this," she said.
"It's an awful thing what's happened to Jade, it's also an eye opener. She shouldn't have been on her own with all those dogs.
"Not at her age anyway.
"We always knew the dogs were at the house because when we walk our dogs past and they all start barking.
"But to be fair, they've never done anything to make me worried.
"I've been brought up around dogs and this has been a huge shock."
Locals earlier said that Jade was visiting the property to see a friend, Kimberley Concannon, 16, who lives there with her twin Catrina and mother Beverley Concannon.
The house is a two-storey, red brick, terraced housing association maisonette, on the Hag Fold estate.
Each property has a back yard surrounded by high wooden fencing and at number five a police officer was stationed outside the door as scenes of crime officers continued their work inside.
Signs at the front and back of the house warned, "Beware of the Dog".
Youngsters who knew Jade said she was "shy and quite timid".
Her parents live just a few streets away, but were too upset to talk.
Speaking at the house last night, a man who identified himself only as Jade's uncle, asked for the family to be left alone to come to terms with the tragedy.
He said: "We don't even know what's happened yet. Jade was brilliant."
Thousands of people have joined a Facebook group created to pay tribute to Jade, including the aunt of a four-year-old boy who was killed by a banned breed of dog.
John-Paul Massey died at his grandmother's house in Liverpool after suffering "massive injuries" inflicted by a pitbull.
Tricia Massey wrote on Jade's page: "Such a tragic thing to happen....Something needs to be done about these aggressive animals.
"Sleep tight Jade, I'm sure my John-Paul will look after you.
"Speaking at a press conference at the scene in Atherton, Mr Kenny said the most likely scenario was that Jade was attacked by four dogs some time between 1pm and 2pm.
"The most likely scenario is that Jade was attacked by four dogs, that is still part and parcel of the investigation. That clearly is the most likely scenario of what's happened but we're looking obviously at all options.
"That happened between around 1pm and 2pm yesterday afternoon," he said, adding that police attended shortly after 2pm when Jade was found.
He added: "We have had no contact or reports, Greater Manchester Police, regarding reports for example of dangerous dogs at this location. We've certainly not had any incidents here.
"This is the first incident of this nature we have attended at this location."
He said officers had spoken to the owner of the dogs, the owner's family, neighbours and other members of the community.
He said he was not aware of other authorities or agencies that had had reports of dogs dangerously out of control in the area.
Mr Kenny said Jade was alone at the address at the time but it was still unknown exactly what had sparked the attack.
He said he was not aware that the dogs were unlawful, but experts are due to confirm exactly what breed they are to make sure they are not illegal.
Refusing to be drawn into commenting on laws governing dangerous dogs, he said: "I am sure this will spark a further debate but that is not for today, for me now.
"My priority now is the family of Jade, my priority is to find out what's happened here and to work within the law and the legislation as it stands now."
Mr Kenny said to describe the situation as tragic was an understatement, and said Jade's family were still in shock and "clearly very upset".
He said that Jade knew the family, and had stayed at the address before, but officers are looking into how well she knew the dogs.