XL Bully
The ban on the American XL bully dog is part of a wider government effort to tackle dog-related incidents. Reuters/ PIROSCHKA VAN DE WOUW

While trying to intervene between two fighting puppies, 68-year-old Esther Martin was killed in a dog attack last week.

The neighbours of Martin, a London grandmother, have since spoken out about the "horrific" screaming they heard while the 68-year-old was being attacked in the property next door.

Reports note that Essex Police arrived to the home "within minutes", but despite many members of the public and six officers trying to save her life, Martin died at the scene.

Sonia Martin, the daughter of the victim, confirmed that the dogs were of the XL bully breed – which have been banned since 31 January 2024.

"There were adult XL bully dogs in the property, and my mum had raised concerns to the owners about them being dangerous and quite aggressive. There were also six puppies," Martin's daughter told reporters.

One neighbour of the 68-year-old, Lucy Shaw, said that she first heard of the attack when "we went out into the garden and it was all quiet and then we heard dogs barking, and then we heard someone screaming".

Shaw noted that the noise "seemed like the screaming of a child", but it "went on for about 10 minutes".

"It sounded horrific," the 38-year-old neighbour added.

Another neighbour, 74-year-old Mike Coleman, spoke to reporters about how he saw Warren arrive back home to the scene.

"He is really shouting and hallowing, he was really, really loud. Then he starts whacking at the windows. He appeared panicked," he said.

Coleman went on to reveal: "He said 'phone the police'. My wife phoned them but they said they had someone else on the phone... Minutes later the police came – two cars, then three then five, and then they blocked the road off."

Within minutes, the 74-year old said that he heard "shots" of the two dogs being "destroyed".

"Then that was it," the neighbour added.

Ashley Warren, known for his rapping career, was arrested on suspicion of dangerous dog offences.

According to the Chief Superintendent of Essex Police, Glen Pavelin, there was a "familial relationship" between the elderly lady and the 39-year-old owner of the dogs.

Warren told police officers that the 68-year-old was caring for her grandson, his 11-year-old son, while he was shooting a music video in London. The 39-year-old rapper was later released on conditional bail until 5 March this year.

The dogs, which were XL American Bulldogs and well-known to Martin, were named Bear and Beauty, Warren said.

The 39-year-old went on to note that "never in a million years" did he consider his dogs a risk to anyone and called the government's newly implemented ban on XL Bullies. "stupid".

While describing the days events, Warren, who is also known by his rap name 'Wyless Man', told Essex Police that he had left Martin and his 11-year-old son at 11:45am.

Amid his music video shoot, the 39-year-old said that his son called him and said that his grandmother had attempted to stop the puppies from fighting but they had rounded on her instead.

Warren told reporters that he told his son to get out of the house immediately.

"I never knew any of this was going to happen," he said, going on to note: "I would've never left my son or his nan in that kind of danger."

With regard to the government's controversial XL Bully ban, Warren added: "I did not know bullies were aggressive, I didn't believe all this stuff about the bullies [being dangerous]"

"But now I've learned the hard way and I wish I'd never had nothing to do with bullies, they've ruined my life and my son's life," he continued.

Despite initially slamming the right-wing government for its new legislation, the 39-year-old said that he thinks the breed "need to be wiped out".