Neighbours have described hearing terrible screams and seeing a dog being dragged from the house in a dog attack which has claimed the life of three-year-old Dexter Neal in Halstead.
Phyllis Younger, 82, who lives on Parker Way where the dog attack took place, said: “I heard screaming and thought maybe it was children having some fun and then I thought it is quite a lot of screaming.
“I wondered if it was teenagers having a fight.
“Then it went quiet and after 10 minutes the police turned up and people were in the street.
“I was awake in the middle of the night, and all I could think about was those screams.
“I can’t believe something like that happened in the road. I didn’t know the couple, they only moved here recently.”
Lisa Smith, 43, who lives opposite, said: “The family were very private, they had not been here long.
“They kept themselves to themselves. The dad I would see coming and going but the others I would not recognise if I passed them.
“We are always out in the back garden and I have children.
“I just feel really sorry for them. I didn’t ever see a dog there.
“It’s just awful.”
Scott Howell, 19, who called the police after realising what had happened, said: “They have only had the dog about a week because we heard it barking.
“It was a very big dog with short white fur. It looked like a pitbull.
“I heard this terrible screaming and thought it was kids playing in the garden, but then I thought this is going on a bit too long.
“I went to my parents’ bedroom window facing the house and that is when I saw the man dragging the dog out.”
“That is when I thought I need to call the police. As I was describing what was happening to the police I saw a woman come out of the house and she was holding a child in her arms.
“She quickly went back in the house. I could hear the man counting ‘one two three four’ like they were doing CPR.”
“The whole while the woman was crying her eyes out sitting in front of the house.”
He said the couple who lived in the house had been there for about a year.
Another neighbour, who didn’t wish to be named, said: “My first knowledge of it was seeing the air ambulance trying to land then when I went to the kitchen a short while after, they were running up Parker Way.
“I didn’t see much other than the paramedics trying to resuscitate him. It is all so very tragic and sad for all concerned.
“I could see the paramedics resuscitating him in the front garden of the property but they were behind a blanket screen.
“It was then I realised it was a more serious incident.”
Meanwhile, a man who lives close by, said he saw a woman run to a local shop following the attack to pick up a defibrillator - a machine that delivers an electric current to heart.
The man, who didn’t wish to be named, said the woman was shouting that the boy was not breathing.
He added: “Later on the air ambulance landed on the field at the back. Every one came out to see what was going on.
“Two paramedics came through with the child. They screamed for everyone to get out of the way.
“They were doing CPR as they were moving him. Sadly it was too late.
“They covered him with a blanket. It wasn’t a sight I wanted to see anyway.”