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Dogs that killed grandmother Esther Martin confirmed as XL bullies

Two dogs that attacked and killed a 68-year-old grandmother in Essex last week were XL bullies, police have confirmed.

Esther Martin was mauled while visiting her 11-year-old grandson at a home in Jaywick, near Clacton-on-Sea on Saturday when she was attacked.

Chief Superintendent Stuart Weaver said the physical features of the two dogs destroyed at the scene by officers were examined by a police-trained dog expert.

A forensic post-mortem examination was carried out on them by a veterinary scientist.

“Through this combination it was confirmed that the dogs were XL bullies,” Mr Weaver said.

A man was arrested after the fatal attack nvolving two dogs in Jaywick, Esssex (Photo: Essex Police)

He added: “I know there has been a huge amount of speculation about the breed and type of dog involved here, but it was really important we got that information right and established the facts.

“We owe it to Esther and her family to ensure we are thorough, professional and, above all, fair.

“XL bully is not a breed of dog in itself but a sub-category of the American bully and identifying categories of a breed can be a complex process.”

He said that detectives were making “good progress” in their investigation and officers were continuing to support Ms Martin’s family.

“I again want to express our thanks to the members of the public who bravely tried to save Esther before our officers arrived on scene,” added Mr Weaver.

“What you did was hugely courageous and a reflection of the values of the community of Jaywick.

“I also want to again praise the unflinching bravery and professionalism of the officers who attended and whose actions ensured the community was safe.”

The victim’s daughter, Sonia Martin, from Chesterfield, told the BBC the dogs were XL bullies – a breed which was banned at the start of this month – with six puppies and two adults in the home.

She also said the boy was her nephew and the grandmother was savaged to death by two dogs as she attempted to intervene between fighting puppies.

And she had been informed that the puppies had started fighting and her mother had been told by the dogs’ owner to “put a broom in among them, to distract them”.

She said: “That’s when she was attacked.”

Ms Martin also told how her nephew “ran out of the house screaming for help” after she was attacked and said some neighbours tried to “fight off” the dogs using spades.

“We’d really like to thank all the neighbours for coming and helping and trying to save my mum’s life,” she added.

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