A GIRL of 12 told a fatal accident inquiry at Dunoon yesterday how she

tried to save her best friend, Kellie Lynch, from being savaged to death

in an attack by two prize winning rottweilers.

The girl described how she lay down between the dogs, Jodie and

Cassie, to shield Kellie, but they just leapt over her and returned to

the attack.

Procurator-fiscal David Webster asked the girl: ''Did you realise you

were putting yourself in mortal danger?'' She replied: ''Yes.''

The dogs were later destroyed by their owner, hotelier Brian Simpson,

as were his two other rottweilers, Smutts and Jess.

Sheriff Principal Robert Hay ordered the public to be cleared from the

court while the girl gave her evidence.

He also made an order that the girl should not be identified, under

Section 4 (4) of the Fatal Accident and Sudden Deaths Inquiry Act of


Sheriff Hay came down from the bench, removed his wig, and sat at a

table in the well of the court while the little girl gave her evidence

from the witness box.

She and slightly built Kellie, 11, of Cotton Street, Dundee, were

spending their Easter holidays at the Cot House Inn, Kilmun, Argyll.

They regularly walked the dogs and early in the afternoon of last

April 14 had Jodie and Cassie out on leads and choker chains.

''There was never any problem with them,'' she said. ''They always

behaved. They never growled or were aggressive. We took them round the

grounds and then to a gravel pit. Both were on leads. They were quite

normal and hadn't given us any bother. When we got to the pit we sat

down, then I took Cassie because Kellie said she wanted to go to the


''Kellie walked away and I turned my back. Suddenly the dogs leapt

towards Kellie and I tried to pull them back by their leads, but they

slipped off their necks. Kellie was nearly pulling down her trousers.''

The girl continued: ''The dogs ran up to her and both licked her face.

She started to laugh then they started biting her, I don't know why.

They were biting her arms and face and she was screaming. She was

shouting 'help' and calling my name. I started kicking them and tried to

haul them off. They were both biting at the same time.

''When I kicked them they turned and stared at me then they went back

to bite Kellie again. I couldn't get them off. I tried to pull their

paws apart. Then I lay down between the dogs and Kellie to protect her.

''They didn't bite me. They just jumped over me to get to her. She was

still screaming and I ran for help . . .''

She said that Cassie, a bitch, and Jodie, a male, had always been

obedient and obeyed her commands to sit or come or stay. ''They did

everything together. They never snarled or growled. Kellie was not

frightened of them.''

The girl said the dogs were fed once a day and did not get meat. ''I

last saw them at Christmas and I noticed Jodie was thinner when I went

back at Easter.'' She was told that it was due to his getting more


Mr Simpson related how the girl told him Kellie had been attacked by

the two rottweilers.

''I ran to the pit and found her lying beside the river which runs

into it. She was on her side and was dead.''

Mr Simpson said the dogs were about 15ft away, standing and very calm.

Kellie had bites on her throat. A Mrs Veronica Falconer arrived and

''became hysterical. She started screaming and grabbed my arm.

''Jodie started to get very excited. He started to bite Mrs Falconer

on the arms and ankles. I hit him in the face with my hand and, when Mrs

Falconer calmed down, so did Jodie.

''I was in a state of shock.''

A vet was called and the two-year-old dogs were put down immediately.

One of the other two rottweilers destroyed was a pup of the pair, the

only survivor of the litter.

Mr Simpson said he had bought the dogs for showing but Cassie did not

take to shows and her head went down and she lost interest.

He paid #200 for Jodie and #180 for Cassie from different Belfast

breeders and made it clear he wanted them for showing, not as guard

dogs. He was assured that there was no background of aggression in their


They were kept in a kennel in a run outside the hotel. Mr Simpson

estimated their weights as 11st for the male and 9st for the bitch.

The fiscal asked Mr Simpson if it had caused him some concern that

such muscular and powerful dogs were being exercised by two young

schoolgirls, and he replied no.

The fiscal said: ''Rottweilers can be a menace, sometimes a dangerous

menace. Would you agree with that?'' -- ''Yes.''

Mrs Falconer, of Afton Court, Dunoon, had been in the hotel for lunch

and heard of the attack on Kellie.

She said: ''I ran as fast as I could to the gravel pit. Then the owner

of the dogs came towards me and shouted: 'She's dead'.

''I saw Kellie lying on a sand spit in the middle of the river. Mr

Simpson had put something over her face. When I moved it away I saw a

very large wound in her neck. It really was very large. He said the dogs

had bitten her.''

Mrs Falconer thought of trying ''resuscitation or something. At the

same time I saw a large dog circling. I said to Mr Simpson: 'Why in

God's name did you let children out with dogs that size'?'' She added he

was shouting at the dog, which was circling, and it bit her on the arm.

Then it bit her other arm.

Mr Simpson used the sleeves of an anorak to tie round the dog's neck,

but it got free and bit her leg.

''I shouted: 'If you don't get that dog it will kill me.'

''When I saw the wound in Kellie's neck I couldn't say anything. I

just shut my eyes. I was shocked rigid. I remember saying: 'What in the

name of God has happened to her'?''

She said the dog was ''certainly out of verbal control''.

She added that she had been badly affected emotionally and could not

sleep without a light being left on.

Deputy police surgeon Dr Alexander Smith said Kellie's larynx was

completely separated from the rest of her body.

Asked by the fiscal about the ferocity of the attack, Dr Smith replied

it had been extremely ferocious, adding: ''I have never seen anything

like it in 15 years as a police surgeon.''

Consultant pathologist Dr John More told the inquiry the muscles of

Kellie's neck were torn and this was consistent with a dog having shaken

and violently worried her. The injury to the throat had been massive and

the back of the spinal chord could be seen.

Animal behaviour research scientist Dr Michael Baxter said that

Kellie's laughter or her first scream could have touched off the

aggression, and the more she screamed the more aggressive the dog would

become. Her throat might have been ripped out because it was the source

of the noise the dogs disliked.

Rottweilers, he said, had a 50% stronger bite than alsatians. They did

not give any warning when they were going to attack.

The hearing continues today.