The mother of a nine-year-old boy who was killed by a dog has apologized to his son’s father and grandmother for causing “so much heartache”.
Tawney Willis told Cornwall Coroner’s Court that she “knows their heartache” over Frankie MacRitchie’s death.
“I miss him every day and I know they do,” she added. “I know nothing I want to do can ever change what has happened and I understand that.
“I’m sorry for my pointless actions [that] caused them so much heartache, I really am, ”she told Billy MacRitchie and Pauline Elford.
Frankie, from Plymouth, was on a caravan holiday in Cornwall when he was attacked by a 45kg American bulldog cross Staffordshire bullterrier in April 2019.
Dr Deborah Cook, a home office registered forensic pathologist, told earlier in court in Truro that the schoolboy died from blood loss caused by multiple dog bites.
On the night of Frankie’s death, Willis and the dog’s owner, Sadie Totterdell, left him alone with the animal, named Winston.
Initially, the three had spent the evening in the park’s social club and returned to their caravan around midnight.
Frankie was left to play computer games while his mother and Totterdell along with the dog joined friends in a neighboring caravan to continue drinking.
Willis said she had checked on Frankie about four or five times. On the last occasion, Winston followed her back to the caravan where Frankie was.
She told the court, “I had to go back and forth and check that Frankie was okay. I checked about four or five times.
“When I got into the caravan [the last time] the dog followed me in and Frankie asked me if the dog could stay in and I asked Sadie, ‘Is he okay’ and she said, ‘Yeah, take Winnie, Winnie loves kids’.
“I just did not think anything of it, and I left them there.”
When Willis returned around 4:30 a.m., she discovered her son lying on the kitchen floor covered in blood.
Frankie had been alone with the dog for more than an hour, the court heard.
“The dog was sitting on the couch just looking at me,” Willis said.
When she broke down in tears, she added, “I screamed. I remember crouching over Frankie and he was on the front page and I turned him over.
“I remember screaming and screaming. I was there screaming. I did not think anyone could hear me – it felt like a whole life.
“I crouched over him and held him in my arms. It was not immediately that people came. I screamed for a long time before people came.”
Aid workers and paramedics attempted resuscitation, but Frankie was pronounced dead at 5:35 p.m.
Willis has been released from prison after pleading guilty to child neglect and has been sentenced to two years.
The trial continues.