Leeds man admits to owning dogs that mauled partner to death

Lee Horner arrives at Leeds Magistrates' Court.
Lee Horner arrives at Leeds Magistrates' Court.
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A man has admitted keeping banned dogs that mauled his pregnant partner to death.

Mum-of-four Emma Bennett, 27, died after suffering serious dog bites at her home in Leeds on December 9 last year.

A previous court hearing was told how Miss Bennett, an epilepsy sufferer, may have suffered a fit, causing the two dogs to see her as prey. Her partner, Lee Horner, 34, pleaded guilty at Leeds Magistrates Court yesterday to two counts of possessing prohibited dogs contrary to the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991.

Police were called to Miss Bennett’s home after a neighbour thought she heard an argument. Prosecuting, Vincent O’Malley said: “Two policeman [...] were met by two dogs who had blood on their snouts. They noticed drops of blood in the doorway and on the carpet and went into the living room. There they saw Emma Bennett lying motionless on the floor.”

Miss Bennett later died at Leeds General Infirmary.

The court heard the two dogs – Bella and Dollar – were a banned breed of pit bull type dog. Horner’s defence insists he did not know they were pit bulls. Mr O’Malley told the court that during a social worker visit in July 2013, Horner used the dogs to threaten them– something Horner denies.

The court heard Horner, who has 39 previous offences but none relating to dangerous dogs, now suffers from anxiety and has difficulty sleeping. Defending, Narinder Rathour said: “It has had further ramifications with relationships with family ties.”

Deputy District Judge Tim Spruce said: “I have read impact statements from relatives of the deceased which are moving but I also have to recognise Mr Horner has lost his partner. In light of all the matters just mentioned this is a case unlikely to result in a custodial sentence.”

Horner is due to be sentenced later.

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