Craig Greve
Craig Greve was sentenced to five-and-a-half years in prison after his American Bulldog killed his grandmotherPolice Handout

A man has been sentenced to five-and-a-half years in prison after his American Bulldog killed his grandmother. Rhona Greve, who was 64 and had heart problems, was bitten 16 times by the dog in a frenzied attack, which left her with fractured ribs and serious wounds to the face and neck. She died at the University Hospital of Wales following the attack.

Recorder of Cardiff Eleri Rees said she had been the victim of a "vicious and sustained attack". "She must have suffered excruciating pain, fear and distress," she added.

On the day of the attack, Greve returned to their house from the pub and could see his grandmother being savaged by the seven stone (44kg) dog, Solo, through the glass of the back door. David Elias, prosecuting, said a neighbour heard her calling "Craig, Craig, my arm is hurting", but Greve did not call an ambulance or police.

A court heard she may have survived the attack if an ambulance had not taken 98 minutes to arrive at her home in Ely, Cardiff. The alarm was raised at about 11:00 GMT, but more than 30 minutes later, only a rapid response paramedic turned up. By this time Mrs Greve's condition had worsened as she was losing consciousness and suffered a cardiac arrest.

John Charles Rees QC, defending, said there was a "a possibility, indeed a probability" that she would not have died if an ambulance had arrived in time.

Her grandson Craig was already banned from owning or having control of any dog three years ago, following an incident with a previous pet called Zac, which attacked another animal. He was jailed for the earlier incident, but police said he had showed "complete disregard" to the lifetime court order, which was issued in 2012.

David Elias, prosecuting also said Greve lied to the police, claiming his grandmother owned Solo and in doing so "risked his grandmother's health in the hope his ownership of the dog would not be discovered".

When he was told that his grandmother had died, Greve reportedly told police: "No. My life was over. What have I done? I'm going to kill myself," the court heard. He had been previously jailed for trying to strangle his grandmother.

The American Bulldog was destroyed following Craig Greve's guilty plea at Cardiff Crown Court.

South Wales Police's dog legislation officer, PC Walter Pennell, told Sky News: "This is the only fatal attack we have investigated here in South Wales and we don't want a second. Craig Greve will live with the consequences of his actions for the rest of his life. We would urge all dog owners to be responsible and if their dog shows any sign of aggression then to seek professional advice."

Following Mrs Greve's death in March, the Welsh Ambulance Service began an investigation in order to gain a "proper and full understanding" into their response, which is still under way.

New Dangerous Dogs legislation was introduced last year, giving officers greater powers to prosecute where appropriate.