Telford baby death: Tragic Harry Harper dies after dog bite

An eight-day-old baby boy has died in Telford after he was bitten by his grandparents’ pet Jack Russell dog.

Harry Harper died at the Princess Royal Hospital from injuries caused by a single bite.

He was rushed by ambulance from his grandparents’ home in Woodside Road, Ketley, just after 8am yesterday.

Harry’s teenage mother Mikayla was staying with her parents, Gordon Bell, 42, and Teresa, 40, when the attack happened. Police today said the dog has been destroyed.

The 19-year-old gave birth to 7lb Harry on November 12 and posted pictures of her new baby on her Twitter page. Harry’s father, trainee electrician Tom Harper, 19, lives in Shifnal.

In a statement released through Telford police, baby Harry’s family today said: “As a family we are absolutely devastated by Harry’s death and have no words to describe the loss we have suffered.

“At the present time we have no wish to speak publicly about yesterday’s events and would ask that we are left in peace to grieve and begin to deal with our loss.”

Detective Chief Inspector Neil Jamieson, of West Mercia Police, said: “Our investigation is ongoing but it appears that the baby died as a result of a dog bite.

“The dog in question was a family pet – a Jack Russell – and this animal has been put down.

“A post-mortem will be taking place to establish the exact cause of this baby’s death but at this stage it does appear to be a tragic accident.

“With an investigation ongoing, there is no further comment I can make on this matter apart from to say that all our thoughts are with the family of the baby at this extremely sad time.”

Police and ambulance crews were called to the semi-detached house at about 8am yesterday.

Ambulance service spokesman John Hawker said: “We were called to reports of a medical emergency at a residential property in Ketley, Telford, at 7.53am.

“A young child was treated at the scene and transferred by ambulance to the Princess Royal Hospital for further treatment. Unfortunately, the child passed away at hospital.”

Mr Harper’s parents, Andrea and Neville, and older brother Nicholas, were also today mourning the loss of their grandchild.

Mrs Harper said: “We are numb.”

Telford MP David Wright expressed said: “It’s tragic and my thoughts are with the family at this difficult time.”

Shocked neighbours were today coming to terms with the tragedy. Many spoke of a ‘nice family’.

Resident Nigel Pitchford, 71, said: “It’s very sad news – the whole street is shocked to hear what has happened.

“They only brought the baby home from hospital a few days ago.”

Mr and Mrs Bell are believed to have six children and it is thought Harry was their first grandchild.

Shortly after Harry was born on November 12, Mikayla tweeted: ‘My life harry 7pounds 12-11-12 Friends of Mikayla also sent her messages of condolence on Twitter.