Schoolboy tragically savaged by 'devil dog' who had 'four previous attacks'
A nine-year-old boy has been tragically killed after being mauled by a family friend's dog that he had been left alone with in a caravan, police have said.
Tributes are pouring in for nine-year-old Frankie MacRitchie from Plymouth, England, who was killed in the early hours of Saturday morning on a caravan holiday, as his mother socialised with friends in a neighbouring caravan.
Police were called to a caravan at Tencreek Holiday Park in the Cornwall town of Looe at around 5:00 am on Saturday morning, and three hours later, had arrested a 28-year-old woman on suspicion of having a dog dangerously out of control as well as manslaughter.
According to the Telegraph, Detective Superintendent Mike West confirmed that the owner of the dog was a friend of Frankie's mother, Tawnee Willis.
"We have got specialists that are looking at the breed of the dog and that's part of our inquiries. Police investigating if it's an illegal breed.
"Our understanding at this time is that the dog owner was an associate of Frankie's mother, who was also at the site during our relevant times - a family friend, not a family member.
"We believe that Frankie was alone in a caravan with the dog as he was attacked, whilst the adults that he was on holiday with were in an adjacent unit.
"There was sound of a disturbance and sounds of distress coming from the caravan. Immediately on hearing that, members of the public ran towards it and attempted to render first aid to Frankie."
Posting a picture of Frankie following his death, the boy's father Billy MacRitchie paid tribute to his son, mourning the loss of his "best friend".
"My baby Frankie Gray MacRitchie, my whole world has shattered into a million pieces. Daddy is so lost without you little man. I really don't know how I'm ever gonna live without you. This should never have happened. I wish I could hold you and kiss you forever. You are my whole life and now your [sic] gone. Sleep tight my darling boy, my best friend my everything."
Billy MacRitchie's sister Danielle also penned a heartbroken handwritten note to her nephew, saying: "Auntie Danielle loved you so much baby boy. I've loved you from the second I knew you were coming."
"The first time I saw you, you were still in mummy's belly and I knew right away we were going to be best friends. I'm so sorry this has happened. I am going to miss you till my heart stops beating. We love you baby boy."
Superintendent West also said in a statement that the dog in question had been taken into kennels to determine if it was an illegal breed, and could not say yet whether the animal would be put down. "Whether or not the dog will be put down is not a decision for the police at this time," he explained.