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Aaron Joseph has been sentenced today after being convicted of owning a dog dangerously out of control in public.

Joseph's dog Alex attacked and killed lollipop man David Ellam, who was protecting his own dog, Rollo, from Alex.

Yesterday a jury unanimously found Joseph guilty in just 39 minutes.

Joseph, who had previously been out on bail during the trial, was locked up immediately by the judge.

Today sentence was passed by Judge Sally Cahill at Leeds Crown Court.

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Here's a recap of today's sentencing

That’s the end of our live updates, our re-cap is below and we’ve two stories, one from the sentencing and one with the families reaction and tributes.

Father-of-three Aaron Joseph, 30, of Sheepridge has been today jailed for being the owner of a dog dangerously out of control and was convicted after a trial.

David Ellam, 52, also of Sheepridge suffered fatal injuries during the ‘sustained attack’ in August 2016 in Riddings Road.

A jury at Leeds Crown Court needed just 39 minutes to return a guilty verdict yesterday. Today Judge Sally Cahill QC sentenced Joseph to 10 years’ imprisonment, of which he will serve half before he can be released on licence.

He was also banned from owning a dog for life. He was also sentenced to four weeks concurrently for a small quantity of cannabis.

The court heard aggravating factors which made this offence more serious than others.

These included:

  • The attack happened in a communal garden and on victim Mr Ellam’s own doorstep
  • Joseph’s dog Alex had on FOUR separate occasions bitten someone else
  • This attack was sustained - witnesses told how he screamed for help as the dog clamped its jaws around his leg.
  • The distress suffered by those who saw the attack
  • Mr Ellam’s death could have been prevented if the dog Alex had been wearing a muzzled
  • Joseph failed to comply with a Dog Protection Order

Judge Sally Cahill told Joseph it was a case of ‘high culpability’ saying he (Joseph) knew his bull terrier Alex was dangerous which demonstrated on a number of occasions, not least because he did not let her off the lead during walks, unlike his other dog.

She told Joseph: “These are but some of your failings, and all this leads to a conclusion that you bear substantial if not complete responsibility for the events that morning. This attack happened because of your arrogant and stubborn disregard for the welfare and safety of others in the community.”

Mr Ellam’s partner Ms Josling told in a victim impact statement how she is haunted by the memories of the attack.

His brother thanked West Yorkshire Police and said he hoped the sentencing would bring them all closure.

He simply added: “We never forget Dave.”

Families tribute to Town fan

Dave Ellam's family and friends including girlfriend Claire Josling (right) entering Leeds Crown Court, as Aaron Joseph, 30, has been found guilty of being the owner of a dog which caused death of Mr Ellam, 52, while it was dangerously out of control by a jury after just over half-an-hour of deliberations.
Dave Ellam's family and friends including girlfriend Claire Josling (right) entering Leeds Crown Court, as Aaron Joseph, 30, has been found guilty of being the owner of a dog which caused death of Mr Ellam, 52, while it was dangerously out of control by a jury after just over half-an-hour of deliberations. (Image: PA)

David’s family wore Town shirts emblazed with his age and name or nick name and were worn in tribute to his beloved club at his funeral.

David's girlfriend shares grief and heartache in a statement

Dave Ellam's girlfriend Claire Josling
Dave Ellam's girlfriend Claire Josling (Image: PA)

David’s girfriend Claire Josling appeared outside Leeds Crown Court today after hearing Aaron Joseph was sentenced to 10 years behind bars for being the owner of dog which killed him.

Ms Josling did not speak outside the court but told in a victim impact statement read in court how she was ‘haunted by the memories’ of how David suffered.

She said: “Speaking personally, I have suffered anxiety and many sleepless nights since losing Dave.
“I can still remember getting the phone call saying Dave had been attacked by a dog and attending hospital. I am haunted by the memories.”

David Ellam's family statement in full: 'Like someone turned out the light in our lives'

“Dave was one of those people that once you had met was hard to forget, once he was part of your life it was hard to imagine life without him.


Loosing Dave was like someone had turned out the light in our lives. Dave was loved and adored by his nephews, niece, partner, wife, brothers, extended family and friends and all those that knew him.


“Dave had the biggest heart and would do anything for anyone. Dave despite pretending to come across as a tough man was in fact a great big softie shown unfortunately in his undeniable love to protect Rolo.

David Ellam and his Yorkshire terrier Rolo
David Ellam and his Yorkshire terrier Rolo


“It has been a hard 18 months since we lost Dave although a lot of it has passed us by in a bit of an unbelievable blur. We often think about all the things that he has missed in this time.


“Town being promoted to the premier league was Dave’s lifelong dream, and he will miss his niece and nephews growing up and turning into amazing adults, and achieving their dreams, something he would have encouraged and supported them to do.

Huddersfield Town players and boss David Wagner on stage during the promotion parade in Huddersfield.
Huddersfield Town players and boss David Wagner on stage during the promotion parade in Huddersfield.


“Dave Ellam was and will forever and always be our world.”

Police issue picture of dog owner responsible for the death of David Ellam

(Image: West Yorkshire Police)

Victim's brother Richard releases video statement

If you are unable to listen to the audio, here’s what Richard said:

Obviously, it’s been a massive, long 18 months for all the family, not just myself.

I think today’s hearing and sentence just sums up just how tragic and how fatal the injuries were to Dave and what happened to him.

It’s had quite a big impact on all the family - not just on the family, on the people who knew Dave, as far and as long as the children at the school where he worked.

All this has been read out in court. It has been a long, hard 18 months.

Hopefully today will bring us some closure. We will never forget Dave, I don’t think Dave will ever be forgotten.

I’d just like to say thank you to the West Yorkshire Police and everybody who’s helped put this case together to bring a great conclusion to what has been a long 18 months.

Family are to make a video statement shortly

David Ellam’s brother Richard will shortly be making a video statement.

Earlier his partner Claire Josling and other family members, all wearing Huddersfield Town tops, appeared outside Leeds Crown Court with Senior Investigating Officer DCI Mark Swift.

David was a huge Town fan which was represented at his funeral when a flag was draped on his coffin.

Pall bearers included Huddersfield Town Ambassador Andy Booth (right).
Pall bearers included Huddersfield Town Ambassador Andy Booth (right).

Key points from judges sentencing


  • Alex was kept in a communal garden
  • Joseph sought to blame others including PC Callaghan.
  • Joseph disregarded the terms of the Dog Protection Order

Latest reaction from outside Leeds Crown Court

Our reporter Stephanie is outside Leeds Crown Court with the victim’s family and representatives from the CPS.

Judges sentencing remarks

Judge Sally Cahill QC told the court: “The circumstances of this offence are nothing short of horrendous.

“On 15th August 2016, Mr David Ellam met his death in the most appalling manner. He came out of his own front door and on his doorstep, he was attacked and mauled to death by your dog, Alex.

“The descriptions of what happened include that once Alex had hold of Mr Ellam she would not let go, that Alex was shaking her head from side to side as if trying to sever the leg she was holding in her mouth.”

She said the descriptions of Mr Ellam’s calls for help are heart-rending.

After saying that Joseph’s dog Alex had attacked on others on ‘four other occasions’, she said: “Had a muzzle been properly used, Mr Elam would still be alive today.”

Her Honor Judge Sally Cahill
Her Honor Judge Sally Cahill

Then the judge asked: “Why did all this happen?”

She told the defendant: “In my view, the answer to that question is, quite simply, because of your arrogance this dog, which should have been carefully and strictly controlled, was kept in circumstances whereby she was able to escape and attack Mr Ellam.”

She went on to say ‘they were the root cause of this death’.

Concluding, she said: “These are but some of your failings, and all this leads to a conclusion that you bear substantial if not complete responsibility for the events that morning.

“This attack happened because of your arrogant and stubborn disregard for the welfare and safety of others in the community.”

Joseph's reaction as sentence passed

Joseph blew a kiss to his family in the public gallery as he was sent down.

Aaron Joseph arrives for his court hearing at Kirklees magistrates court, Huddersfield.
Aaron Joseph arrives for his court hearing at Kirklees magistrates court, Huddersfield.

Crown Prosecution Service react to the sentencing of Joseph

The Crown Prosecution Service which brought the case to court has issued the following statement.

Richard Walters of the CPS said:

This was an appalling case in which a man lost his life in the most shocking way in a horrific, brutal and sustained dog attack.

The CPS were able to present evidence to the court to show that Joseph had failed to comply with a previous control order, which stated that the dog must be muzzled, kept on a lead, insured, neutered and micro-chipped.

In addition he chose to place a dog which he knew to have a history of attacking neighbours in a pen in the communal garden of the flats where he lived.

Aaron Joseph’s failure to comply with the control order together with his failure to take adequate steps to secure his dog led directly the tragic death of Mr Ellam.

The gravity of this crime is reflected in the severity of the sentence imposed today.

I hope this is of some comfort to Mr Ellam’s family and friends, as well as the local community, of which he was a well-known and much-loved member.

Sentence passed

Judge Sally Cahill QC sentenced Joseph to 10 years’ imprisonment, of which he will serve half before he can be released on licence.

She also disqualified him from owning a dog for life.

Aaron Joseph arrives for his court hearing at Kirklees magistrates court, Huddersfield.
Aaron Joseph arrives for his court hearing at Kirklees magistrates court, Huddersfield.

Judge briefly adjourns sentencing

Judge Sally Cahill QC has adjourned the hearing to consider the sentence she will pass down.

Her Honor Judge Sally Cahill
Her Honor Judge Sally Cahill

Court hears mitigation for Joseph

The court is now hearing from Jospeh’s defence barrister for mitigation.

Aaron Joseph arrives for his court hearing at Kirklees magistrates court, Huddersfield.
Aaron Joseph arrives for his court hearing at Kirklees magistrates court, Huddersfield.

Katherine Pierpoint said Joseph has an eight-year-old son and 14-month-old twins and over the last 18 months he has been heavily involved in their care.

She said that he works and described him as a ‘talented football player’ who has been semi-professional for a number of years now. She also said that, despite previous convictions, he has never been to custody before.

Heartbreaking tribute from David's partner

David Ellam, his beloved Yorkshire Terrier Rolo and, below, friends and family release balloons at his funeral
David Ellam, his beloved Yorkshire Terrier Rolo and, below, friends and family release balloons at his funeral

Court hears how David was loved by his community

Speaking about Mr Ellam’s passion for football, his partner Ms Josling said: “He has missed his beloved Huddersfield Town being promoted to the Premier League, which was his lifelong dream.”

Funeral of dog attack victim David Ellam at Huddersfield Crematorium - floral tributes in Huddersfield Town colours
Funeral of dog attack victim David Ellam at Huddersfield Crematorium - floral tributes in Huddersfield Town colours

She said: “It is simply unthinkable that anyone would die in the circumstances Dave did.”

Mr Ellam, was also a huge Huddersfield Town fan and was instrumental in publicising the club’s Walking Football sessions, which encouraged others to get active in their community.

Victim's partner haunted by the memories of attack

Mr Ellam’s partner Ms Josling told in a victim impact statement how she is haunted by the memories of the attack.

She said: “Speaking personally, I have suffered anxiety and many sleepless nights since losing Dave.
“I can still remember getting the phone call saying Dave had been attacked by a dog and attending hospital. I am haunted by the memories.”

Scene of dog attack on Riddings Road in Sheepridge
Scene of dog attack on Riddings Road in Sheepridge

Victim's partner shares impact of Mr Ellam's death

The prosecutor has read a victim impact statement to the court from Mr Ellam’s partner Claire Josling. It was written yesterday.

She said: “Dave, as he was known to everyone, was someone that once met was hard to forget.”

“Losing Dave was like someone had turned out the light in our lives.”

David Ellam and his Yorkshire terrier Rolo
David Ellam and his Yorkshire terrier Rolo

'High culpability' due to attack in public place

The court has heard from the prosecution ahead of sentencing of defendant Aaron Joseph.

Prosecutor Jonathan Sharp told the court it’s case of ‘high culpability’ due to Joseph not complying with the court order and the attack happening in a ‘communal garden’.

He said aggravating features were the the ‘sustained nature of the attack’ and the ‘injury to the other animal’.

Aaron Joseph had NINE previous convictions for drugs

Prosecutor Richard Walters told the judge that the defendant has nine previous convictions, including for possession of class A and class B drugs and supply of heroin.

Sentencing starting

Judge Sally Cahill QC has started sentencing defendant Aaron Joseph, who is in the dock.

Three members of the jury which convicted Joseph after 39 minutes have also returned to court to listen to the sentencing.