Get involved: send your pictures, video, news and views by texting TANEWS to 80360, or email
Open verdict on dog lover whose remains so damaged cause of death not clear
A dog lover’s body was partially eaten by his pets after they were trapped in his room with him when he died, an inquest heard yesterday.
The remains of Leslie Lawn’s body were so badly damaged that medical experts were unable to ascertain the cause of death, the Bradford hearing was told.
Recording an open verdict, Assistant Coroner Caroline Sumeray said the dogs, Staffordshire bull terriers called Zara and Sonya, were not to blame. They were unfortunately trapped with their owner and became hungry.
The inquest heard that toxicology samples were taken from 40-year-old Mr Lawn’s body, which found potentially toxic levels of anti-psychotic drugs, which could lead to drowsiness and possibly unconsciousness. There was also evidence he had taken cannabis.
He had long-standing alcohol and psychiatric problems.
Home Office forensic pathologist Dr Paul Johnson found tissue loss to the spine, upper torso and upper arm. Some organs were missing and the skull and jawbone were separated from the body.
Dr Johnson found marks consistent with dog biting and there was evidence of gnawing and chewing. He concluded Mr Lawn had been “preyed on” by the dogs in the room.
The pathologist concluded the damage had been done after death, the cause of which could not be ascertained.
Neighbour Nicholas Bird told, in a statement, how he entered Mr Lawn’s flat, with another man, on September 18 last year after he had not been seen for several days.
When he opened the bedroom door, the two dogs ran out past him. After discovering the body he alerted police.
A note was found from Mr Lawn, which referred to guilt, but it did not express a clear intention to kill himself.
Psychiatric evidence revealed Mr Lawn had been diagnosed as a manic depressive. Mrs Sumeray said it appeared he had been eaten by his dogs. She told Mr Lawn’s sister, Donna, who attended yesterday’s hearing: “It must have been terribly upsetting for you to hear the way he was found.
“I would think the dogs were desperate. They had been shut in a room with him for several days.”
After the inquest, Miss Lawn said her brother was a big dog lover and had owned Zara, who was deaf, for six or seven years.