Daniel John Twigg was savaged by a dog outside a property in Rochdale, Greater Manchester, on Sunday afternoon. Although he was rushed to hospital, the “happy and kind” youngster died of his injuries hours later.
A 48-year-old man arrested under the Dangerous Dogs Act in connection with the incident has been released on bail.
The pre-inquest hearing into the tragedy today heard 10 dogs have been seized by police as a result of their continuing “significant” investigation following the incicent, Manchester Evening News reports.
Rochdale Coroners’ Court also heard a post-mortem examination carried out by a Home Office pathologist showed Daniel had died of “head and neck injuries caused by a dog attack”.
North Manchester Coroner Joanne Kearsley was told emergency services resonded to reports of a dog attack, which had left a child victim “unconscious and not breathing” at approximately 3.20pm on Sunday.
Greater Manchester Police (GMP) attended but the boy was “in cardiac arrest” and he was taken to a children’s hospital.
A Cane Corso dog was destroyed at the scene and the ten other dogs were seized by police. None of the animals were banned breeds, the hearing was told.
Greater Manchester Police has referred itself to the police watchdog, the Independent Officer for Police Conduct (IOPC), in relation to the case. The force has previously said this referral was because of “previous contact”.
The hearing was also told a “safeguarding review” may also be undertaken by Rochdale Children’s Services.
No members of the family were present during the hearing, but senior coroner Ms Kearsley offered her condolences and also expressed sympathy for the “harrowing” scene which had confronted the emergency services.
Ms Kearsley said: “At this stage there remans a criminal investigation and I’m not going to set a date for the final inquest.”
The hearing was adjourned and a further pre-inquest review has been scheduled for September 1.
Detective Chief Inspector Dave Jones, of GMP’s Professional Standards Branch, has said: “We are aware of a number of incidents of note which preceded the death of three-year-old Daniel Twigg. As per the Independent Office for Police Conduct’s Statutory Guidance, we have made a referral to the IOPC and are awaiting a decision from their analysts, which will determine how this investigation is progressed.
“GMP is committed to delivering outstanding service which keeps people safe and cares for victims. Professional analysis of our actions is key to achieving this so we ask members of the public and the media to refrain from speculating at this time.”
An IOPC spokesperson said: “First and foremost our thoughts go out to the family and friends of three-year-old Daniel Twigg who has tragically died. We have received a referral from Greater Manchester Police indicating previous reports of a dog bite and concerns for animal welfare on Carr Lane, Milnrow. On 18 May we began an independent investigation which is ongoing.”
Daniel’s 40-year-old father Mark Anthony Twigg works as a gardener and his mother Joanne Tracie Bedford, 34, is described as a “homemaker” during the inquest opening. They live in Blackley, Manchester, with their two other children.
In a heartbreaking tribute to the youngster, his family described him as their “happy little boy”. They said: “Daniel was a happy, kind and caring little boy who was loved by all who knew him.
“He loved Paw Patrol and playing with his brother and sister, he also loved being around animals - especially his pony, Splash. He brought us many laughs and was a comical character.
“He was brave, intelligent and full of many characteristics. Daniel loved being with his whole family and will be missed by all. On behalf of our family, we ask people to respect our privacy.”