A man accused of owning a dog which mauled a man to death told a court today he was “truly and deeply sorry” about what happened.
And Aaron Joseph has talked about the moment he had to face the horrific scene after his dog had carried out the fateful attack on 52-year-old David Ellam in Sheepridge and had then turned on the victim’s Yorkshire Terrier.
Aaron Joseph, a 30-year-old semi-professional footballer and courier, is standing trial at Leeds Crown Court accused of owning a dog Alex which was dangerously out of control. He denies the charge.
The cross bull terrier type dog attacked Mr Ellam on the morning of August 15, 2016, outside the block of flats they both lived in Riddings Road, Sheepridge.
Joseph had been previously issued with a dog Control Order by Kirklees Magistrates’ Court following a number of incidents which required him to muzzle Alex while in a public place, for her to be on a lead when out and for him to microchip, insure and neuter her but the court heard he failed to fulfil all these conditions.
Asked by his counsel Katherine Pierpoint whether there was “anything you want to say in relation to what happened?” he replied: “It’s something that I never, never ever wanted to happen.
“If I could change anything I would change it. For me, like, it might seem funny saying Not Guilty but I just want the story to be out.
“I want people to know the truth. There’s a lot of question marks in this case.
“I am deeply and truly sorry and I wish it had never happened.”
He was asked by her about the fateful day and what he did when he was told his dog had attacked Mr Ellam.
He said he had muzzled her before leaving for work.
He said: “I received a call from a neighbour about Alex. She said Alex is attacking my neighbour.
“I was at a house with a parcel. I threw it in the bin and ran to my car and zoomed home.
“When I got there there was Dave on the floor. I had to step over him. Alex had Rollo, (Mr Ellam’s dog in her mouth).
“As soon as I said ‘Alex’ she dropped Rollo and ran off into her pen.”
Ms Pierpoint asked him how “did you feel about that scene that met you as you went through that garden gate?”
Joseph replied: “I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. In my eyes it was an accident. It was awful. From what I had seen that was not my dog.”
Cross-examined by prosecutor, Richard Walters, he was asked about the traumatic events of August 15, 2016 and regarding his police interview conducted later that day before Mr Ellam had died.
He denied lying “to save his own skin” by trying to minimise the significance of four previous incidents involving his dog which had bitten a council workman, Josh Sykes, and three of his neighbours.
He said: “Alex was a big softie. She didn’t go round terrorising things.”
Mr Walters responded: “You knew at the time you were being interviewed that you were already engaged in trying to save your own skin and telling lies.”
The defendant denied that saying: “I would have had a solicitor. I was trying to help the situation.”
The trial continues.