Thursday, 9 February 2012

Savaged to death by a dog...or natural causes?

This morning, both the Sun and MailOnline covered the death of Cassandra Smith in Nuneaton:

The Sun's article, written by Andrew Parker, goes into some detail:

A brave mum was savaged to death by the family dog in front of her five children as she tried to stop it attacking them.

Petite Cassandra Smith, 49, leapt in to fight off the frenzied Alsatian when it went for daughters Charlotte, 28, and Annette, 26.

But the snarling animal flew at her and sank its jaws into her face and throat.

Her five terrified kids — including Shelley, 25, Kayleigh, 21, and Jayson, 30 — looked on screaming in horror.

The first comment on the Sun's article seems to have been posted online at 7:49pm yesterday and the story was in today's paper. The MailOnline version went up this morning, suggesting it was 'borrowed' from the Sun.

Yet five hours before that comment, Warwickshire Police issued a statement saying such 'rumours' were 'unfounded':

She had told a family member that she was feeling unwell the night before her body was found.

At the current time there is no evidence to support rumours, circulating in the local community, that she died from injuries inflicted by the family dog.

A post mortem has taken place today and has found:

that she died from natural causes as a result of a pre-existing medical condition.

The examination established that injuries to the woman’s face were caused after she had died.

The woman was found in her bedroom by an adult member of her family on Tuesday morning. The woman had stated she had been feeling unwell the previous evening.

A juvenile dog, believed to be a bull mastiff, staffie cross, aged approximately five months old, which was found in the room with the woman, has been destroyed following consultation with the family.

An elderly German Shepherd dog, that was in another room in the house, was not involved in the incident.

A report into the woman’s death will now be prepared for the Coroner and an inquest will be held at a later date.

The Sun and MailOnline articles have now vanished.

(Hat-tip to Darryl Murphy)


  1. Yet the children looked on in horror.

  2. A spokesman for the Mail said; "it's another example of the failure of the inquiry to understand the newspaper industry.

    "We work very fast on breaking stories. Very often, when a newsroom gets reports of someone going to bed feeling unwell and dying in their sleep, we will, naturally enough, pre-prepare an alternative where they are savaged to death by a dog in front of their horrified family.

    "We have to be prepared for anything in this fast-paced world of news."

  3. Tracy off Page 3 added: "Merely corroborative detail, intended to give artistic verisimilitude to an otherwise bald and unconvincing narrative.


  4. I especially like how the article paints a picture of a savage dog going after this woman's poor defenseless children only for her to lose her life in a tragic yet heroic attempt to save them, only to then reveal that the 'kids' in question are all adults ranging from 21 - 30.

    If this had actually happened as the article describes I would hope the police would want to know why the FIVE ADULTS merely "LOOKED ON IN HORROR" while their mother was savaged by the dog...

  5. Business as usual heh heh Levenson really made them change

  6. The story was printed in Metro as well

  7. You've got to love that url

    Covered blood chewing dog face!

  8. The Metro is so bad it defies belief. Even the Mail would struggle with some of their stories.
    They are one paragraph away from "Bus found on the moon".

  9. The Metro is owned by the Daily Mail to be fair so little surprise if their standards are also to be found in the gutter.

  10. The reason they said she was protecting her children is because the first report stated their ages as much younger, around pre school age. The ages were later edited in the article, but no other details were changed. I live in Nuneaton and knew Cassie. Not surprisingly, friends and neighbours are upset and angry at the media getting the story so wrong. RIP Cassie.

  11. @Jo
    I never knew that. It makes a lot of sense.


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