A nine-year-old boy killed by a family friend’s dog has been named – as police revealed the youngster was alone in a caravan when he was attacked by the animal.
Frankie Macritchie was killed by a suspected bulldog-type breed at Tencreek Holiday Park in Looe, Cornwall, in the early hours of Saturday.
A 28-year-old woman who was arrested on suspicion of manslaughter and having a dog dangerously out of control has been released under investigation.
Detective Superintendent Mike West said Frankie, from Plymouth, had been on holiday at the park with a group of adults and the arrested woman was a family friend of the boy.
She was detained at a train station near Plymouth – more than 20 miles from Looe – around three hours after Frankie was attacked, police revealed.
The dog has been seized and remains in kennels.
Mr West said experts were working to determine if the animal is a banned breed before any decision is taken on whether it should be put down.
He also thanked members of the public and emergency service workers who tried to help Frankie “in deeply upsetting conditions”.
People at the holiday park ran towards the caravan after hearing “sounds of distress” and tried to give first aid, Mr West said.
“We believe that Frankie was alone in a caravan with the dog as he was attacked, whilst the adults that he was on holiday with were in an adjacent unit,” he added.
“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.”
Emergency services tried to save Frankie after finding him unresponsive inside a caravan at the venue just before 5am, but he died at the scene.
Management at the holiday park, located on the Cornish coast, offered their “deepest sympathies” to Frankie’s family.
“Tencreek Holiday Park staff are to be commended in the way they have dealt with a very distressing incident,” the firm said in a statement.
“Tencreek Holiday Park management continues to help police with their enquiries. The park will remain open offering normal service.”
Holidaymakers rent out static caravans at the park, which also has pitches for tents and motorhomes, and facilities include an indoor swimming pool, sports pitch, kids’ club and a restaurant.
Malcolm Bell, from Visit Cornwall, said the attack was not reflective of holidaying in the county.
“It’s obviously a tragedy and your heart goes out to the family and all those affected,” he said.
“Unfortunately we do have these dog incidents across the whole of the country, unfortunately too frequently, and it’s just happened to be in Cornwall this time.”