Man 'used dogs to threaten pair'

Burnley and Pendle Citizen: Lee Horner arrives at Leeds Magistrates' Court for a hearing over the death of his partner in a dog attack Lee Horner arrives at Leeds Magistrates' Court for a hearing over the death of his partner in a dog attack

A man whose pregnant partner was killed by his two pit bull-type dogs had threatened social workers with one of the animals months before the death, a court has heard.

Mother-of-four Emma Bennett, 27, died after she was attacked by the dogs called Dollar and Bella at her home in Leeds last December.

Lee Horner, 34, admitted owning dogs prohibited by the the Dangerous Dogs Act at Leeds Magistrates' Court.

A district judge heard how two women social workers visited the house in July last year and Horner told one of them: "Shut it or I'll set the dog on you."

Prosecutor Vincent O'Malley told the court that Horner told the other social worker, who was eight months pregnant at the time: "What you looking at? Wait until I get the dog and see if you continue looking at me like that."

Mr Malley described how Horner was out when police arrived at the house he shared with Miss Bennett in Dawlish Avenue in December after being alerted by neighbours who heard a noise they first thought was an argument.

He said Miss Bennett was heard to shout: "No, no, no."

The two officers went inside after getting no response.

Mr O'Malley said: "They were met by the two dogs - Bella and Dollar. Both had blood on their snouts and appeared excited.

"They noticed drops of blood in the doorway and on the carpet and went into the living room. There, they saw Emma Bennett lying motionless on the floor. Her legs were on the sofa.

"She had extensive injuries, particularly around her facial area and her head."

The prosecutor said the officers performed first aid on Ms Bennett and they found both dogs "excitable but not aggressive" as they did this.

Miss Bennett was taken to hospital but did not survive, Mr O'Malley said.

Deputy District Judge Tim Spruce said he will decide this afternoon whether to sentence Horner, of Helston Green, Leeds, today or whether to order a pre-sentence report.

After hearing from Narinder Rathour, defending, how the death of his partner has affected the defendant, Mr Spruce has already ruled out a prison sentence.

Mr Spruce decided to adjourn the case for a pre-sentence report to be prepared.

He told Horner he will be sentenced at the same court on July 3 at 10am.

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