Survivors warned that next incident could be fatal
MANCHESTER, United Kingdom––Greater Manchester police are reportedly investigating themselves after alleged weak response to three previous dog attacks on passers-by led up to the May 15, 2022 fatal mauling of three-year-old Daniel John Twigg.
Daniel John Twigg loved dogs and liked to play with them, according to parental testimony at a May 17, 2022 preliminary inquest hearing.
Daniel John Twigg was killed, however, by at least one Cane Corso and possibly other dogs of unidentified breeds outside his home at Hen Carr Farm, Tunshill Lane, Milnrow, Rochdale, Blackley, Greater Manchester, Lancashire.
Daniel John Twigg’s father, Mark Anthony Twigg, 40, is reportedly a Hen Carr Farm gardener. The victim’s mother, Joanne Tracie Bedford, 34, is a homemaker, police coroners’ officer Tracy Bunn testified to senior North Manchester coroner Joanne Kearsley at the Rochdale Coroners’ Court hearing..
48-year-old man charged, but not named
Other dogs whose photographs have been posted to social media by Daniel John Twigg’s mother in recent years have included at least two German shepherds, a greyhound, a basset mix, and a black Pomeranian whom Daniel John Twigg’s parents reported stolen on May 8, 2022.
The reportedly blood-covered Cane Corso believed to have been the primary attacker was killed by police at the scene. Ten other dogs were impounded, several of whom were later euthanized.
A 48-year-old man, not yet identified by police, was arrested at the Hen Carr Farm for alleged violations of the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991, not including possession of prohibited breeds.
He was reportedly later released on bail.
Discrepancy in reported time of attack
“The boy was outside with a number of dogs when the attack took place,” Manchester Guardian correspondent Mark Brown reported on May 16, 2022.
“The ambulance service and police were called at around 1.15 p.m. and the boy was taken to the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital, where he died a short time later,” Brown said.
After the May 17, 2022 preliminary inquest hearing, however, the Manchester Evening News reported that, “Police were called to the Carr Farm at 3.22 p.m.,” more than two hours later than in the Guardian account.
The discrepancy in timing was not explained, but the Greater Manchester police appear to have much more than that to explain.
Hen Carr Farm
On arrival, the police rescue team found Daniel John Twigg “unconscious, not breathing, in cardiac arrest,” police coroners’ officer Bunn testified.
Hen Carr Farm, a local landmark, is a historical farmstead with some buildings reputedly dating back to the 18th century.
The Hen Carr Farm property, under the present ownership since 2006, includes both organic farming facilities and variety of rental housing, ranging from upscale to modest.
A day after Daniel John Twigg was killed, Brown wrote, “the area remained cordoned off, with officers standing guard at the entrance.
“Signs at the farm entrance were clearly visible saying: ‘Dogs are loose. Do not leave your vehicle. Beep or call,’ giving a telephone number. Another sign said: ‘Warning. Beware of the dogs. They bite.’
“A number of dog walkers told ITV News that they avoided the area where the attack took place because of previous incidents,” Brown said.
Looking into that, Brown learned that “Greater Manchester police have referred themselves to the Independent Police Complaints Commission after it emerged that officers had previous involvement” with dog attacks at or near the Hen Carr Farm.
Attack just three weeks earlier
“The force confirmed that it received a report on April 9, 2022 that a 17-year-old girl had been bitten by a dog on Carr Lane, Milnrow,” Brown continued.
“Greater Manchester police assistant chief constable Scott Green confirmed that there had been previous contact.”
Said Green, “A thorough investigation is ongoing to establish the full circumstances surrounding this incident and review other incidents of note.
“Due to previous contact, the Greater Manchester Police professional standards branch is making a referral to the Independent Office for Police Conduct.”
Police dropped 2021 attack investigation
The April 9, 2022 attack on the 17-year-old girl came a year after a previous disfiguring attack, Guardian reporter Thomas George revealed on May 18, 2022.
Kia Walker, 19, “said she made a complaint to police last year after she was mauled by a dog while walking on a footpath just yards from where the fatal attack happened,” George wrote.
“Walker was left with horrific injuries to her arm following the attack in April 2021,” George continued, illustrating his account with photos showing bites and scratches covering most of the left side of her body.
Walker told Hollie Bone of The Mirror that, “I was on a public footpath. The gate was open and the two dogs came out and that’s when they attacked me. There were two Tibetan mastiffs. I was on my own and I had to climb along a wall to get away.”
Wrote Bone, “Greater Manchester Police claimed that Kia chose not to take further action, but she alleges this is not true and that she was told “nothing more could be done.”
Woman badly mauled in 2020
Nor was that the first dog attack reported to police from Hen Carr Farm.
The Manchester Evening News also found that a woman who declined to be named was attacked by a Cane Corso on March 29, 2020 less than 100 yards from where Daniel John Twigg fell.
“The dog wasn’t on a lead,” the woman said. “It was hanging off my arms and tugging at me. It bit me on my side.”
This Cane Corso “is not believed to be the same dog who was involved” in the fatal attack on Daniel John Twigg, George of The Guardian said.
That victim “was taken to hospital where she was treated for her injuries, but has since been left with scars to her arm. She says police officers told her they would not visit the farm if there were ‘dangerous dogs on the loose,’ as it was dark.
“Were they going to wait until someone was dead?”
“The woman believes the attack was captured on closed circuit television,” George noted, “but claims police said there was no evidence of what she was alleging.
“They said there was no proof,” the woman told George.
“I don’t think they ever went up there,” the woman opined. “They just wouldn’t do anything. I asked them if they were going to wait until someone was dead to do something.”
There may have been a dog attack at Hen Carr Farm even before that.
According to Hollie Bone of The Mirror, “One woman, who wished to remain anonymous, told The Mirror, ‘I was attacked about six years ago. He [the property owner] always had vicious dogs,'” this source said.
“We lived near there and one of his smaller dogs attacked my ex and my mum’s friend too,” Bone quoted the source. “I got attacked by one of the bigger ones and couldn’t walk for a month, as it was on my ankle. He has a public footpath running through his yard. Everyone who has walked through there will say about how the dogs would bark and go for them through the fence.”
“They just sent me a letter”
In that case too, the police apparently were unresponsive. “When I got attacked I contacted the police went in and did a statement,” Bone’s source said. “They never went up to the farm to speak to the owner or even check the dog to see if it actually was vicious. They just sent me a letter a few weeks later saying no further action would be taken.”
Senior coroner Kearsley adjourned the May 17, 2022 preliminary hearing until September 1, 2022, after Greater Manchester Police major incident team detective chief inspector Gina Brennand testified that a criminal investigation is underway.
“We are aware of a number of incidents of note which preceded the death of three-year-old Daniel Twigg,” acknowledged detective chief inspector Dave Jones, of the Greater Manchester Police Professional Standards Branch.
“As per the Independent Office for Police Conduct’s Statutory Guidance,” Jones confirmed, “we have made a referral to the Independent Office for Police Conduct, and are awaiting a decision from their analysts, which will determine how this investigation is progressed.”