1. ITV Report

Elderly man 'literally eaten alive' in fatal dog attack

lifford Clarke, 79, was attacked in his garden in Liverpool. Photo: PA

By Damon Green: ITV News Correspondent

Two women have been sentenced to a year in prison after starving their savage dog for so long that it attacked and killed an elderly man by tearing off his arm and eating it.

A judge told Della Woods and Hayley Sulley that the pensioner was "literally eaten alive" by a dog "dangerously out of control."

They wept in the dock as he told them that the "dreadful and fatal attack" was "entirely avoidable".

Clifford Clarke, 79, was cooking dinner in his home in Liverpool last May when animals belonging to the women escaped from Sulley's home through a gap in the fence.

A court heard that they had not been fed or watered for more than a day - the hottest spring day of last year - when the largest one ran next door and attacked the former hospital porter, who walked with a stick and had undergone two hip replacement operations.

The dog, which repeatedly bit Mr Clarke, was a cross between a Presa Canario, a Bull Mastiff and a Pit Bull Terrier, had not been fed for at least 45 hours before the attack. Wood and Sulley were attending a barbecue at the time.

Della Woods (second left) and Hayley Sulley arrive at Liverpool Crown Court where they have been jailed for 12 months. Credit: PA

Liverpool Crown Court heard that a neighbour heard Mr Clarke's cries and tried to intervene, after arming himself with a golf club. He also described to police how he saw the dog pulling off and eating Mr Clarke's arm.

The pensioner's left arm was later found to be severed and his right arm partly severed by the dog's jaws. he also received injuries to his head and torso. A post mortem examination of the animal, called 'Charlie', discovered human flesh in its intestine.

When armed police arrived to put the animal down, the court heard, it was still so aggressive that it seized the barrel of the officer's rifle between its jaws. And even after being shot once, it attacked again before being shot for a second and final time.

Woods, 29, and Sulley, 30, had earlier pleaded guilty to an offence under the Dangerous Dogs Act, as well as three counts of causing unnecessary suffering.