IN 1995, eleven-year-old David Kearney died after being attacked by two rottweilers in the last case of a death from dog mauling in East Lancashire until last night’s tragic events.
The Sudell Primary School pupil was attacked while looking for his football in a Darwen backyard.
The youngster, of Broad Gate in the town, suffered such shocking injuries that his mother Margaret was unable to recognise him when taken to his hospital bedside.
David and his friends were on their way home from a carol service on December 23, when their football went over a 6ft fence surrounding the yard in Redearth Road.
When they climbed over to retrieve it, they came face-to-face with the animals.
The other boys, including David’s eight year-old brother Jason, escaped when they saw the rottweilers, Jet and Sam, approaching.
David was trapped as he stopped to pick up some money he had dropped.
He was dragged around the yard and lay there until the owner Kevin Tierney returned and raised the alarm.
He was taken to the intensive care unit at Manchester’s Booth Hall Hospital.
Only David’s back escaped damage.
Dirt and dog bites caused gangrene, requiring amputation of his left leg above the knee and causing his kidneys to fail.
He was put on a life support machine, but a massive heart attack and a blood clot to his brain led to his parents switching it off on January 3, 1996.
Dogs Sam and Jet were put down at the request of the owner, causing an outcry from animal lovers.
Police decided not to prosecute Mr Tierney over the death.
In June 2003, David’s father Kevin issued the final photograph of the tragic 11-year-old, taken just minutes before he died, as a warning to other parents.
He spoke out after reading about a Rottweiler attacking five dogs and a woman in Oswaldtwistle the previous week.