Woman Killed by Dog That Brother Bought Her To Improve Mental Health

An inquest has heard how a woman in England was killed by the dog her brother bought to improve her mental health.

Keira Ladlow, 21, was mauled by the Staffordshire bull terrier cross, named Gucci, on February 5 in her brother's house in Birmingham—located in the West Midlands region of the country.

A post-mortem examination revealed that Ladlow had died due to multiple injuries she suffered at the hands of the dog, coroner Rebecca Ollivere told the city coroner's court on Thursday.

Ladlow had been staying at her brother's home due to her unstable mental health, the court heard.

In a written statement, Dr. Syed Faisal Haq said the woman suffered from emotional unstable personality disorder and had been prescribed antidepressants to manage her anxiety.

Kayden Barrett, Ladlow's brother, told the court he had rehomed the dog in October 2020. Gucci's previous owner had given the pet away because it had bitten another one of their dogs.

Initially, the dog settled in well, the inquest heard, bonding with Barrett and his sister, who spent her days at home due to having been furloughed from her job.

The night before her death, Ladlow had told her brother that she had a feeling Gucci was going to bite her. Barrett said he did not share his sister's concerns at the time, believing that her worries stemmed from the fact that she had perhaps not taken her medication.

On February 5, Barrett left to go to work, leaving the dog in bed with his sister. But when he returned home at around 2 p.m. local time, he found his sister "lifeless" on the floor of the living room, which was "covered in blood," he told the court. The dog, meanwhile, was "cowering in the corner," Barrett said.

"I panicked and did not know what to do," he said.

Eventually, Barrett called the police to say that the dog had attacked and killed his sister, he told the court.

The brother said he had initially been happy with the dog's temperament, but now feels "a terrible sense of guilt" over what happened.

"I've always protected her... I feel responsible even though there was nothing I could have done that day," Barrett told the court.

After Ladlow's death, the dog was signed over to the police and put down.

Ollivere told the court that "nobody will ever know what caused the tragic shift" in events that day.

Deaths due to dog attacks are very rare in the U.S. But according to a report published by Louisiana State University Shreveport researchers Kenneth Maniscalco and Mary Ann Edens, about 30 to 50 people die from dog bites every year in the U.S. on average.

A Staffordshire bull terrier
Stock image showing a Staffordshire bull terrier. A woman an England was killed by a Staffordshire bull terrier cross. iStock