Pair held on pit bull death bailed

Preston and Leyland Citizen: Police forensic officers arrive at a house in Emily Street, Blackburn, after a baby girl died when she was mauled by a pet dog Police forensic officers arrive at a house in Emily Street, Blackburn, after a baby girl died when she was mauled by a pet dog

A couple arrested over the death of an 11-month-old girl killed by a banned dog have been released on bail.

Ava-Jayne Corless was asleep in bed at a house in Blackburn on Monday night when she was savaged by the pit bull terrier.

The girl's mother, Chloe King, 20, and her partner, Lee Wright, 26, were held on suspicion of manslaughter.

Lancashire Police said: "The two people arrested in connection with the death of Ava-Jayne Corless at Blackburn have both been released on bail pending further inquiries."

Police and ambulance staff attempted to resuscitate Ava-Jayne at the address in Emily Street but she was pronounced dead at Royal Blackburn Hospital a short time later.

Police said the dog, which was destroyed after the attack, had been identified by experts as a pit bull terrier-type dog which people are prohibited from owning under Section 1 of the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991.

Locals claim to have made previous complaints to police about the dog's behaviour.

King and Wright were said to be downstairs when the attack took place, while Ava-Jayne was in a front bedroom.

Yesterday, Chief Superintendent Chris Bithell of Lancashire Police said: "This is an absolutely horrific incident in which a baby girl has lost her life and I would like to take this opportunity to express my own personal sympathy to the wider family of baby Ava.

"As part of the investigation we are making inquiries to see whether there have been previous issues with this particular dog and I think at this moment it would be too early to speculate on that."

The couple were initially arrested on suspicion of child neglect before they were re-arrested on the more serious offence of manslaughter.

Family liaison officers are offering support to the wider family of Ava-Jayne.

The child's father is understood to be Dean Corless.

Writing on Facebook, his sister, Shannon Corless, said: "She is a beautiful little girl, she was only 11 month and didn't deserve to be took away so soon.

"You know what they say god only takes the best, you really didn't deserve to go. I love you loads princess. Your with the angels now princess. Auntie Shannon loves you loads."

According to King's Facebook page, she is a former student at Witton Park High School and Blackburn College who is studying food, nutrition and health at Edge Hill College in Ormskirk.

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