West Ham boy, 7, savaged in pitbull dog attack
PUBLISHED: 12:00 26 January 2011 | UPDATED: 15:11 26 January 2011
A YOUNG boy was savaged by a vicious pit bull while playing with friends at a flat in West Ham.
Jack Wellstead, seven, suffered horrific injuries to his arms, legs and head following the attack.
Family and friends fear the Ranelagh Primary School pupil could have been even more seriously hurt if not for the actions of a quick-thinking passer-by.
Lawal Alhadi has been hailed as a hero after smashing through the front door of the property in Napier Road and pulling the animal from the child.
The 29-year-old youth worker was returning to his home in Stratford after visiting his grandmother, who lives nearby.
“The place was a bloodbath,” he told the Recorder.
“If I hadn’t broken down the door there would have been complete carnage.
“I whacked the dog so hard on its head, but he jumped on me and ripped my trousers apart.
“I eventually managed to grab hold of the boy, but his injuries were horrific and he was unconscious.
“It was the worst thing I’ve ever seen in my life.”
Mr Alhadi, a father of three, said he had been unable to sleep since witnessing the scene.
“I keep thinking that could have been one of my children,” he said.
“Hearing the boy scream like he was – it has really affected me.”
Police and ambulance crews were called to the scene at around 2.30pm on Saturday, January 15.
Jack was taken to The Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel, where his skull was glued back in place and he underwent a series of skin grafts.
Doctors say he is likely to suffer permanent scarring, but should otherwise recover from his injuries.
He is already attending the hospital school and is expected to be discharged later this week, but may have to use a wheelchair for a time.
The dog has been destroyed.
Jack’s devastated mum, meals on wheels worker Victoria Devlin, 43, was too upset to speak about her son’s injuries.
Her partner, 40-year-old youth worker Daniel James, lives with Ms Devlin and Jack opposite the block where the attack took place.
He said: “When I managed to get to Jack he was just laying there crying.
“He was trying to look at his wounds and I had to keep trying to stop him.
“I’m just glad that he is improving now and, in all honesty, Lawal is the hero and deserves all the credit.
“If I was a millionaire I’d send him on holiday and pay his wages.”
Mr Alhadi said: “My main concern was that the boy was okay.
“I’m sure any compassionate human being would have done what I did.”
Police said a man had been arrested in connection with the attack and bailed pending further inquiries.