A woman who was arrested after a pet dog mauled a nine-year-old boy to death at a holiday park has been named.
Frankie Macritchie was fatally attacked by a “bulldog-type” breed while alone in a caravan with the animal in the early hours of Saturday morning.
His mum, Tawnee Willis, was in an adjacent caravan at the Tencreek Holiday Park in Looe, Cornwall, when the incident unfolded at about 5am.
The dog’s owner has been identified as nail technician Sadie Totterdell, 28, who is understood to be a family friend of Frankie’s mum and runs a nail salon in Plymouth, Devon.
It is alleged Totterdell’s seven-year-old dog called Winston had been left with Frankie alone in the caravan while Sadie and the boy’s mum were socialising next door.
It was claimed on social media the dog which killed Frankie had carried out four previous attacks
Frankie was found in an unresponsive state and pronounced dead at the scene.
Holidaymakers have told how they were awoken by his mum Tawnee Willis’s screams as she cried: “The dog’s attacked my boy”.
She was seen crying hysterically as paramedics tried desperately to save her son.
Shortly after the incident, which took place at 5am on Saturday, witness Ashleigh Toms, 19, claims she then saw Totterdell and the bloodied hound on the streets just outside the park.
Ashleigh claims Totterdell then told her she had been the victim of domestic violence so decided to help her flee the scene and even paid for her train to Plymouth.
She claims Totterdell then cleaned herself up in the toilet before being arrested after arriving in Plymouth, more than 20 miles from the scene of the dog attack, three hours later.
Totterdell was arrested on suspicion of having a dog dangerously out of control and manslaughter, and has been released by police “under investigation” while enquiries continue.
The dog has been seized and remains in kennels in Cornwall.
When asked whether it is believed that the woman ran away from the scene, Detective Superintendent Mike West, from the D&C Major Crime Investigation Team, said: “Those circumstances have yet to become clear, but that’s certainly a line of our ongoing enquiry.”
He also said it is part of ongoing enquiries as to whether the dog is registered as a dangerous breed.
“Whether or not the dog will be put down is not a decision for the police at this time,” said Det Supt West.
“We’ve got specialists that are looking at the breed of the dog, and that’s part of our enquiries. We need to understand exactly what the breed of the dog is.”
Tributes have continued to pour in for Frankie.
His devastated dad Billy Macritchie, speaking for the first time about the incident, said on Facebook it should “never have happened”.
In a heartbreaking post, he wrote: “My whole world has shattered into a million pieces.
“Daddy is so lost without you little man, I really don’t know how I’m ever gonna live without you.
“This should never have happened. I wish I could hold you and kiss you forever.
“You are my whole life and now your gone.
“Sleep tight my darling boy, my best friend my everything.”
Frankie’s aunt, Danielle Macritchie, left a handwritten note reading: “Auntie Danielle loved you so much baby boy. I’ve loved you from the second I knew you were coming.
“The first time I saw you, you were still in mummy’s belly and I knew right away we were going to be best friends.
“I’m so sorry this has happened. I am going to miss you till my heart stops beating. We love you baby boy.”
Det Supt West said Frankie had been staying at the holiday park for a number of nights before his death.
He said: “We believe that Frankie was alone in a caravan with the dog as he was attacked, whilst that the adults that he was on holiday with, were in an adjacent unit.
“These two groups of people were all known to each other and all from the Plymouth area.
“This is a desperately sad event which has seen a nine-year-old boy lose his life whilst on holiday; our thoughts and sympathies are with the loved ones of Frankie and all of those who knew him.
“I also wish to recognise those who came to his aid at the scene; members of the public and emergency services staff who had to work in deeply upsetting conditions.”
He added: “We appreciate that this case will shock and upset the public, however, we urge the public not to apportion blame on this tragic incident, and to allow us to do our job and to fully investigate this matter.
“Please do not speculate via social media. There is a good chance that this will be seen by those who knew and loved Frankie and speculation will only lead to further upset.”
Tencreek Holiday Park spokesman Henry Joce said on Saturday: “The park will remain open offering normal service. Whilst the investigation is under way, no further statements will be made.”