Dad ‘battled to save son from dog attack’

Liam Hewitson with partner Jessica Hill
Liam Hewitson with partner Jessica Hill
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A father re-lived the harrowing moments he battled in vain to save his son from the jaws of his pet dog.

Phil Hewitson told an inquest he punched, kicked and even stabbed the animal in a desperate bid to loosen its grip on the 22-year-old’s throat.

But by the time the pitbull cross backed off, Liam Hewitson had suffered catastrophic injuries to the blood vessels in his neck and to his windpipe. The civil engineer lost so much blood that paramedics were unable to save him.

The inquest at Preston was told Liam was having an epileptic fit when the dog he had raised from a puppy attacked.

Girfriend Jessica Hill revealed five-year-old pet Trigger, which was not a banned breed , had “gone for” Liam on at least two previous occasions when he was having a fit.

“I asked him to get rid of the dog because of the way it had behaved, but he refused,” she said in a statement to the inquest. “He said he loved it too much to get rid of it.”

Liam died on New Year’s Day at his home in Dundonald Street, Preston. DI Jane Webb, who investigated the death, said there was “no criminal element” to the incident.

Consultant pathologist Dr Jacob Joseph, who carried out the post mortem, concluded death was due to injuries to the neck and trachea caused by a dog bite. “Liam suffered from epilepsy and whilst having a fit his own dog bit him in the neck and face. He had difficulty breathing and couldn’t be resuscitated.”

Dad Phil, who was upstairs in the house when the dog attacked, recalled how he ran downstairs into the kitchen.

“I could see the dog had bit him and then come off him. As I shouted to the dog to get away it pounced back onto him.

“I was kicking, hitting it, doing anything I could just to get it off him, but to no avail. I stabbed the dog and, after a second, it ran off. But it had already done the damage.

“I have thought a lot about this since and why Trigger might have done that. I think the dog was thinking it was trying to help him while he was having the fit by picking him up by the neck and taking him away from that spot.

“I knew from the bite and all the blood loss that the dog had basically killed him. I know there was nothing we could have done. It was very traumatic.

“Liam really loved that dog. It was the first one he’d had and he took him everywhere with him.”