Woman admits cruelty offence towards dogs that killed Jade
3:39pm Tuesday 1st October 2013 in NW
A WOMAN has admitted causing unnecessary suffering to four dogs that went on to kill 14-year-old Jade Lomas-Anderson.
Jade died after she was attacked by two bull mastiffs and two Staffordshire bull terriers in Atherton on March 26.
The dogs were owned by Beverley Concannon, at whose former home the teenager died.
Concannon, aged 45, pleaded guilty at Wigan Magistrates Court to the cruelty offence under the Animal Welfare Act 2006, which could bring a jail sentence.
Concannon bowed her head in the dock throughout the brief hearing.
She admitted causing unnecessary suffering to bull mastiffs Buddy and Neo and Staffordshire bull terriers Ty and Sky between July 19 last year and March 25 this year.
The details of the charge was that she subjected the animals to "an environment that was detrimental to their well-being" and she knew or ought to have reasonably known what she had done.
An alternative charge of not ensuring the welfare of the dogs between the same dates was dropped, as was a third charge of causing unnecessary suffering on March 26 when the dogs were shot by the police.
Concannon was granted unconditional bail until sentencing on October 18.
Jade was visiting a friend at Concannon's former home in Chaucer Grove, Atherton, when the incident took place.
Police were called to the scene following reports that a girl was unconscious and a number of dogs were out of control.
After the discovery of Jade's body, armed police shot the four dogs dead.
Earlier this month when announcing the cruelty charges, the Crown Prosecution Service said there was insufficient evidence to bring a charge of manslaughter by gross negligence against Concannon.
It also said it could not bring any charges under the Dangerous Dogs Act because the four dogs were not banned breeds and were not out of control in a public place.
Paul Taylor, prosecuting, told the court that the guilty plea was acceptable to the Crown.
He said the decision not to charge the defendant with manslaughter had been made at the "highest level" of the Crown Prosecution Service.
Adjourning proceedings, District Judge Mark Hadfield said: "This lady is of previous good character.
"The very, very serious nature of the offence means the court needs a report before sentence."
Addressing the defendant, he told her: "In due course the court will have to decide the appropriate sentence. I am not able to do that today.
"I am going to ask the Probation Service to prepare a report to give further information about you and your background.
"It is very important that you co-operate with the Probation Service between now and the next court date."
Concannon confirmed she understood.
The defendant, from Wigan - whose present address was not read out in court - later left the court with the hood of her black jacket covering her face.
She was helped into the back of a taxi by her solicitor as photographers gathered and made no comment.
Jade's mother, Shirley, and stepfather, Michael, did not attend the hearing. They launched a campaign last week calling for more severe punishments for irresponsible dog owners.
A group of friends sat in court and said they were representing them.
Outside court, one of them said: "They couldn't face coming today. I hope that woman rots in hell."
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