Parents of baby mauled to death by racing Husky at Ostler's Plantation spared jail

Kyra King's parents, Vince King and Karen Alcock. Credit: SWNS

The parents of a baby girl who was mauled to death by one of their racing dogs have been spared immediate prison sentences.

Three-month-old Kyra King was attacked by the Siberian Husky dog, called Blizzard, while lying in her pram at Ostler's Plantation, near Woodhall Spa in Lincolnshire, at around 11.30pm on 6 March last year.

She suffered multiple injuries to her neck and head and died at the scene.

Her parents, Karen Alcock and Vince King, were later charged with owning or being in charge of a dog that was dangerously out of control, causing injury resulting in Kyra's death.

Alcock, 42, pleaded guilty at Lincoln Crown Court in December.

King, 55, initially denied the charge, but changed his plea to guilty on Thursday, 1 June, as he was due to go on trial.

At a sentencing hearing on Monday, the court heard King, who worked part time as a hospital maintenance worker, had run dog sled teams competitively for around 20 years.

Alcock was a veterinary nurse who had taken in a number of dogs as pets.

The couple had taken Kyra with them when they took their 19 Husky dogs to Ostler's Plantation for a run on the night of 6 March.

The inside of the van, showing the crates where dogs were kept. Credit: Pa

The baby was in her pram next to their van, which had the front passenger door open.

Jeremy Janes, prosecuting, told the court Blizzard, who was the lead dog of one of two teams run by Mr King, was in the middle section of the van.

He said: "Blizzard was able to jump over the rear of the seats and out through the open door."

He said Miss Alcock later described the dog as "an escape artist" who had previously run off after her tether was bitten through. Blizzard was pregnant at the time, Mr Janes said.

The couple did not notice what had happened until they saw the dog over Kyra's pram.

After getting her away from the infant, the couple found Kyra seriously injured. Mr King put her on a towel and attempted emergency treatment. Emergency services were called, but they were unable to revive her.

Vince King and Karen Alcock arrive at court for sentencing. Credit: ITV News

King and Alcock were arrested at the scene.

Siward James-Moore, mitigating for King, said the incident was "abhorrent" and there had been a "momentary lapse" in the system used by the pair.

He said: "The events of that day for Mr King, and doubtless Miss Alcock, will have a profound, lifelong sense of loss for both of them.

"No punishment that this court can impose will equal that which they have already endured."

Sentencing the couple Judge Catarina Sjölin Knight told them: "This is a tragic case and I have no doubt that both of you would wish every day that you could wind the clock back so that this never happened."

She said Kyra's death was the "tragic conjunction of circumstances".

The judge said: "Dog ownership is a privilege and for many a pleasure, but it comes with a heavy burden."

Alcock was given an eight-month prison sentence, suspended for two years. King was given a 10-month sentence, also suspended for two years.

They were not banned from keeping dogs.

The judge ordered that Blizzard be put down.

Speaking after the sentencing, Det Con Craig Davey, of Lincolnshire Police, said the incident "could have been prevented".

He added: "The dedication and determination of our officers to understand what happened at Ostler's Plantation is to be commended. This was an incredibly difficult case to be involved in, but we knew how important it was that we found out the truth about what had happened. It is a stark reminder to all about the dangers of dogs and children.

"What happened to that three-month-old baby girl is something that will haunt all of us involved in this investigation, and the wider public who have been so invested in justice for Kyra, as well as her parents, forever."

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