Tributes to great-grandmother, 85, killed by two dogs in her garden

Jimmy Nsubuga
·3-min read
Lucille Downer, 85, was killed on Friday afternoon. (Police)
Lucille Downer, 85, was killed on Friday afternoon. (Police)

The family of a great-grandmother who was killed by two dogs in her garden in a sustained attack have said they will “miss her dearly”.

Lucille Downer, 85, suffered multiple injuries on Friday afternoon in Boundary Avenue, Rowley Regis, West Midlands.

Police said the animals escaped a neighbouring property through a hole in the fence before attacking her.

The owner of the two dogs, a 43-year-old man, was arrested on suspicion of being the person in charge of a dog dangerously out of control, causing death.

He has been released on conditional bail pending further inquiries.

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Flowers outside the house on Boundary Avenue in Rowley Regis, West Midlands, where a woman in her 80s died after being attacked by two escaped dogs. Picture date: Saturday April 3, 2021.
Flowers outside the house on Boundary Avenue in Rowley Regis, West Midlands. (PA)
Police at the scene on Bounry Avenue, Rowely Regis, West Midlands. (SWNS)
Police at the scene on Bounry Avenue, Rowely Regis, West Midlands. (SWNS)

In a statement, Ms Downer’s family said: “Lucille was a mother, grandmother and great-grandmother who spent her working years as a cook at Bromford House Care Home in West Bromwich.

“Lucille was born in Jamaica and emigrated to the UK in her early 20s. Since arriving in the UK, Rowley Regis has always been her home and her family will miss her dearly.”

On Saturday morning, floral tributes were left on the victim’s drive, with one displaying the message “RIP Nan”.

The property remains sealed off and a large police van was parked outside the house.

Shortly after the arrival of police at the scene, the animals were tranquilised and taken to a nearby kennels where they are being tested to determine their breed.

Speaking at a press conference outside West Bromwich Police Station on Saturday, Superintendent Phil Asquith said neighbours responded “very quickly” to the pensioner being attacked, and family members were able to access the garden quickly as they lived nearby.

He said: “Fortunately, the actual owner returned home and was able to get the dogs back into their area at the adjacent premises.”

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Flowers outside the house on Boundary Avenue in Rowley Regis, West Midlands, where a woman in her 80s died after being attacked by two escaped dogs. Picture date: Saturday April 3, 2021.
Tributes were left for Lucille Downer. (PA)
Flowers outside the house on Boundary Avenue in Rowley Regis, West Midlands, where a woman in her 80s died after being attacked by two escaped dogs. Picture date: Saturday April 3, 2021.
The great-grandmother died at the scene. (PA)

Police said Ms Downer suffered dog bite injuries and a post-mortem examination will take place in due course.

Asked what injuries the victim had suffered in the incident, Superintendent Asquith added: “The dogs will have unfortunately carried out a fairly sustained attack so there were multiple injuries, mainly caused as a result of the delay in getting into the garden.

“But the specifics of the injuries I can’t go into.”

Speaking about the breed of the dogs, Superintendent Asquith said: “They were two large dogs but we cannot speculate.

“The DNA samples have to be taken to determine the specific breed under the Dangerous Dogs Act (to see if) they are specific breeds that are banned – and I can’t speculate as to whether or not they are banned dogs.”

Police have urged anyone with information about the incident to come forward.