Death of five-week-old baby attacked by family dog was a 'tragic accident'

The death of a five-week-old baby Reuben McNulty who was attacked by a family dog has been described as a "tragic accident". 

The death of a five-week-old baby Reuben McNulty who was attacked by a family dog has been described as a "tragic accident". - Credit: Terry Harris

The death of a five-week-old baby who was attacked by a family dog has been described as a "tragic accident". 

In a pre-inquest review hearing held today (August 19), area coroner for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, Simon Milburn, gave more detail about what happened on the evening of Reuben McNulty’s death.  

A full inquest into Reuben’s death will take place in November/December of this year.  

A full inquest into Reuben’s death will take place in November/December of this year. - Credit: Terry Harris

Reuben was aged just two weeks old when he was attacked and he died three weeks later at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge, on December 13,  2018, aged five-weeks-old. 

He was attacked by a Staffordshire Bull Terrier at the family home in Yaxley.  

Mr Milburn read out the accounts taken from Reuben’s mother Amy Litchfield and his father Daniel McNulty.  

Reuben’s mother Amy Litchfield and his father Daniel McNulty.

Reuben’s mother Amy Litchfield and his father Daniel McNulty. - Credit: Terry Harris

He said: “The explanation that I understood from both accounts of the parents was that both were in the living room at the address. 

“The dogs were also present in the living room and Reuben was asleep in what was described as a teddy bear ring on the sofa. 

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“At some stage some food was ordered and then consumed.  

“Then it seems to be suggested that Amy then took a sleeping tablet and had gone to sleep on the sofa. 

“It was agreed that Daniel would take care of Reuben that night, then there was some suggestion in Amy’s interview that at some point that Daniel had spoken to her and it seemed to say that he was going outside for a cigarette. 

He was attacked by a Staffordshire Bull Terrier at the family home in Yaxley.

He was attacked by a Staffordshire Bull Terrier at the family home in Yaxley. - Credit: Terry Harris

“Whether she had understood that, was not clear, because at this stage she had gone back to sleep and it was during that period of time, when she was asleep and Daniel had gone outside, that something had happened between one of the dogs and Reuben.” 

From the post mortem CT scan the cause of Reuben’s death was recorded as 1A severe head injury and 1B dog attack.  

The hearing heard that both parents were given advice and understood how the family should interact with the dogs, prior to Reuben’s death. 

Mr Milburn also said that dogs could never be trusted and that Reuben's death was a tragic accident. 

A full inquest into Reuben’s death will take place in November/December of this year.  

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