Baby girl killed in Daventry dog attack is named at opening of inquest

Claire Riley is pictured with a pet dog in 2012.  (Photo by Dave Evitts / Newsteam)
Claire Riley is pictured with a pet dog in 2012. (Photo by Dave Evitts / Newsteam)

The six-month-old Daventry girl killed in an attack by a banned breed of dog has been named as Molly-Mae Wotherspoon.

Molly-Mae was officially identified at the opening of an inquest in Northampton today, Wednesday.

The provisional cause of death has been given as ‘head wounds sustained in an attack by a dog’.

County coroner Anne Pember remarked that the family had “paid the ultimate price” for owning a dog classified as a dangerous breed.

She said: “The family owned the dog that killed Molly-Mae, which was an American pitbull terrier. This breed is classified under the dangerous dogs act for a reason - it’s dangerousness.”

The mother of Molly-Mae has also been identified as Claire Riley, who identified her daughter’s body

Ms Riley, in her early 20s, was featured in national newspaper reports in 2012 which said she was forced to drop out of a college course in hairdressing and beauty therapy because she couldn’t leave a pet Staffordshire bull terrier at home on its own.

The Sun and the Daily Mail were among the national newspapers to reveal that the 11-month-old dog, named Pups, had caused more than £1,500 of damage by chewing electrical items and furniture.

It is not known at this stage if the dog is connected to the banned breed that was behind the fatal attack in Morning Star Road, Daventry at 10.30pm on Friday, October 3. The dog responsible for the attack was ‘humanely destroyed’ at the house by a local vet. The Royal Veterinary College then carried out a forensic post mortem on the dog.

Molly-Mae was being cared for at the time of the incident by her maternal grandmother, who suffered bite injuries attempting to protect the baby.

Northamptonshire Police released a statement on behalf on the family last week. It said: “The family wish to say at this point that we are totally devastated and in complete shock the tragic loss of our little princess and ask we be left alone to grieve at this difficult time and a full statement will be given in due course.”

The inquest has been adjourned until next February.