XL bully dog owner faces jail over toddler mauling in street

Judge acknowledged that XL bully dogs are big and muscular
Judge acknowledged that XL bully dogs are big and muscular - BAUER ALEXANDRE/Shutterstock

The owner of an XL bully is facing jail after the unmuzzled dog attacked a 20-month-old toddler in the street.

Thomas Ackah, 29, of south-east London, pleaded guilty to charges of being in charge of a dangerously out of control dog at Bromley magistrates’ court on Tuesday.

The dog attacked the child in Greenwich, on Monday morning outside the Hilton Double Tree hotel.

His mother could be heard screaming at the scene, and was so distressed she could not give a statement, the court head on Tuesday.

A victim impact statement will be sought in due course, it was said.

Committed for sentencing

Wearing a dark blue jacket,  Ackah was held on remand and committed for sentencing at Woolwich Crown Court on a date to be determined.

During the hearing, the court was played CCTV of the incident showing the dog grabbing hold of the child and biting it, with it taking several seconds for it to release its grasp.

Maureen Edwards, senior crown prosecutor, said: “Mum was out with her 20 month old child. We can see the dog running at the child.”

“We’ve seen the injuries, they are horrific,” Ms Edwards said.

“The aggravating factor is that the dog was an XL bully.”

She added that the dog was dangerously out of control when it attacked the youngster.

“The dog wasn’t on the lead and was not muzzled,” she said, adding that Ackah had not shown remorse for the attack and had questioned why he was held by police in handcuffs instead of the dog.

“It’s important to note that he didn’t even ask about the child at the time and he seemed like he just wanted to hurry to leave the scene,” Ms Edwards said.

The prosecution said that Ackah tried to flee the scene.

A doctor was walking past at the time and was able to assist. Ms Edwards said: “It was lucky he was there.”

The child was taken to A&E, and at the hospital the doctor said had the wounds been any deeper they would have been life-threatening.

Attempt to regain control

District Judge Sayed noted that Ackah did attempt to regain control of his dog, but added: “XL bullies have been in the news quite a lot, they are big, muscular dogs.”

Ms Edwards said that the doctor on scene had seen the defendant before, as he lives locally and told police that he recognised him, and he had seen him in the area before with two similar dogs.

Ackah stated in his police interview that he has friends who also have XL bullies.

The judge said it was a “sustained attack” as it took some effort and many seconds to get the dog off the child. The court heard that the dog, an “apricot-coloured” XL bully, had since been destroyed.

Defending, Chuda Sama said the incident was “quite clearly disturbing” but that her client had been trying to get the dog away.

“He said ‘I thought I could train it better’,   he was shocked by what had happened.” She said that he had told her repeatedly “it’s a baby”, when reflecting on the dog’s attack on the infant.

Ms Sama said this showed that Ackah, who works as a labourer, has “got the natural instincts of a person who would react to this situation. He was in shock during this.”

The judge accepted that the fact Ackah did not appear remorseful at the time did not mean he did not feel any remorse about what had happened.

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