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Horror attack Korean war vet (86) recalls devil dog attack that had him fearing for his life

"I may have fought in a war but this was the most terrifying thing that happened in my life."

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Severe: William’s injuries after the savage attack

Severe: William’s injuries after the savage attack

Severe: William’s injuries after the savage attack

A Korean war veteran has spoken about the moment he thought he was “going to die” after a devil dog tried to rip his throat out.

Speaking exclusively to the Sunday World, 86-year-old William Moore choked back tears as he recalled the shocking incident last April when a hulking Akita dog tried to kill him – moments after the deranged mutt had savaged a young girl and her mum.

This week, the dog’s owner, 44-year-old Helen Blackwood, was handed a four-month suspended prison sentence for being the owner of the black and white monster dog.

The giant dog had launched a sickening attack on the mum and daughter who had sought refuge in a house close to Blackwood’s home in Cloughey, Co Down.

As they waited for the police to come, they kept an eye on the dog and tried to warn William as he walked up the road close to the deranged pet.

William Moore has since moved to Newtownards and we tracked down the plucky pensioner who explained he was out on his daily walk when he heard shouting.

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Trauma: William Moore

Trauma: William Moore

Trauma: William Moore

“I could hear people shouting at me about a ‘bad dog’ or a ‘mad dog’ but I had no idea what they were talking about,” says William.

“There was a man there asking me what the people were shouting and next thing I remember this monster dog came out of a hedge and leapt straight at my throat.

“These dogs are trained to hunt wolves and so it knows to go straight for the throat. It just missed my throat but sunk its teeth into my chin and hung there.

“I’m still pretty fit but it forced me to the ground and that’s when I thought it was going to kill me. I was lying there thinking ‘Christ, it’s curtains for me here’.

“His teeth were in my chin and I could hear flesh and skin ripping as it refused to let go and then it started biting my arms. It was all over quite quickly but at the time it seemed to last forever.”

William says he had experience as a dog trainer when he worked for the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) after he left the army.

“I knew how to handle dogs because I’d trained them before but this was a monster and all it wanted to do was kill me,” says William, who became emotional as he said those words.

“It happened a year ago but I’m still very emotional about it. I may have been in a war but this was the most terrifying thing that ever happened to me in my life.

Flashbacks

“If I had have been frail I’d be dead – it meant business.

“I still get the flashbacks of it standing over me drooling and ready to attack again. I managed to get my hand under its collar and twisted it and for a brief second I realised I could have killed the dog by strangling it but I didn’t want to do that.”

William says he felt the PSNI didn’t take his injuries seriously enough but was very grateful to the nurse who treated his wounds on the side of the road.

He also says he believes Helen Blackwood had been used as a “scapegoat” and that the dog seemed to belong to another man.

“I remember the wee nurse who cleaned me up was called Eve because I tried to make a joke that I must be ‘Adam’. I was in shock, but I remember trying to make things normal again.

“There was blood all over my arm and Eve wanted to send me to the Ulster Hospital, but I didn’t want to go because Covid was so bad at the time and I didn’t want to catch it. I told her I’d go to casualty in Newtownards the next day.”

William says he joined the army in 1948, aged just 14-years-old, and enjoyed a 13-year career with the Royal Artillery.

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Honour: William joined the army at the age of 14

Honour: William joined the army at the age of 14

Honour: William joined the army at the age of 14

He once spent three months in hospital after he had been cleaning artillery guns when an explosion caused by cleaning chemicals left him with 3rd degree burns.

“That was scary, but still not as scary as the dog attack,” says William who explained his wife lives in a care home and his only son lives in the US.

“The injuries look bad but luckily I am quite pain tolerant and it wasn’t too bad. I just needed triple anti-biotics in case of infection.”

But he says he didn’t receive any type of apology from the dog owners.

“No, I only lived around the corner but I never received any apology from anyone,” says William, still clearly upset at the way he was treated.

Remarkably it emerged in court – despite three people being badly attacked by the animal on April 15 last year – the dog was still living at Blackwood’s home on Quarter Road, Cloughey – which is where it escaped from the day of the attacks.

The Sunday World went to the address to confront Blackwood about why she hadn’t had the dangerous dog destroyed.

When we arrived at the large but run-down rented property which shirts the fairways of Kirkistown Golf Club, nobody answered the door.

Dozens of black bags of rubbish were piled up in the extensive gardens and two dogs could be heard barking wildly when we knocked the door.

An unidentified woman – not Helen Blackwood – arrived at the house on foot with bags of shopping and told us Helen wasn’t in but claimed the Akita dog had been destroyed.

“Helen only phones here occasionally, she’s at her boyfriend’s house but I don’t know where that is,” said the woman who didn’t want to give her name.

“The dog isn’t here anymore; it has been taken to the vets and killed.”

An hour later we returned to the property to see if Helen had returned but the front gates had been locked tight with a chain.

Locals we spoke to said the they feared the dog might still be alive and said they had complained to the authorities about it.

“We knew the dog was still alive and we can’t believe the police or the council couldn’t do something about it,” said one resident of the Quarter Road who didn’t want to be identified.

“If it attacked three people it could have attacked again. People walked round this road a lot because of Covid but people were scared to come round here after what happened.”

Helen Blackwood pleaded guilty to three counts of being the keeper of a dog that attacked people, keeping a dog without a licence and being keeper of a dog which strayed, Ards Magistrates Court heard.

A defence solicitor explained that Blackwood had inherited the dog from her deceased brother and it should have been destroyed, however due to Covid difficulties, the dog wasn’t put down.

District Judge Mark Hamill said he was “appalled” that this dog is still alive and “it was one of the worst dog attack cases, I’ve ever come across”.

The judge handed Blackwood a four-month prison sentence suspended for three years, fined her £100 and ordered her to pay council costs, totalling £296.

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