The case of Aaron Joseph, who is accused of owning a dangerously out of control dog which killed Huddersfield Town fan David Ellam, is expected to wrap up today (Monday).

Joseph, a 30-year-old semi-professional footballer and courier, is currently on trial at Leeds Crown Court over the fatal dog attack in Sheepridge in August 2016.

Mr Ellam, 52, died of his injuries after being attacked by the cross bull terrier on the morning of August 15 outside a block of flats on Riddings Road.

The judge is expected to sum up the case today before sending the jury out in the afternoon. A verdict is expected either later today or tomorrow.

Stay with us for the latest updates on the case. Reporter Stephanie Finnegan is in court. You can follow her on Twitter at @StephanieFinneg.

Key Events

Full story from today

Here’s everything that happened in court today.

We will be reporting live from court as Joseph is sentenced.

Join us tomorrow for the hearing.

Adjourned for sentencing

The judge said Joseph will be sentenced first thing tomorrow morning. A victim impact statement from Mr Ellam’s partner will be read then.

Guilty verdict

The jury have returned a guilty verdict after 39 minutes.

Jury retires to consider verdict

The judge sent the jury out to consider their verdicts at 3.55pm.

Attack was 'entirely foreseeable'

The judge has moved on to summing up the experts’ evidence:

• An animal behaviour expert who conducted tests on Alex found her to be submissive. Having seen photos of the run Alex was kept in, he said that she may have become aggressive being able to see people in “her territory” through holes in the garden fence and barked to get them away and when she was released, she may have been even more aggressive, having built it up and being unable to get someone out of her territory. He said the attack on Mr Ellam was entirely foreseeable considering the previous incidents.

Judge sums up witness statements

The judge has moved up to summing up the witnesses’ evidence of the attack on Mr Ellam, which includes:
• Neighbour Naomi Russell said that around 9.40am on August 15, 2016, her children told her there was a dog attacking a man. She looked out of her bedroom window and “once she saw the dog get hold of him she did not see it let go”. Mr Ellam was shouting for help, saying things such as “somebody help me for f**k’s sake” and “I can’t take any more of this”. The dog was “snarling, growling and shaking it’s head from side to side like it was trying to sever the leg”.

• A male neighbour threw a knife into the garden and told Mr Ellam to stab the dog, but he said, “I can’t”.

•Another female neighbour heard him shout “get the f**king dog off me”.

•Another male neighbour was putting his bins out and heard Mr Ellam shout “f**king help me”. He rang the police.

• The first PC on the scene found wounds on Mr Ellam’s legs and arms and the dog had blood on its mouth, neck and torso. He sprayed a fire extinguisher at the dog, which ran down a path and picked up a smaller dog in its mouth. Other officers and the ambulance arrived on the scene.

• Another PC saw Mr Joseph with Alex as soon as he arrived on the scene. He said the dog seemed to be placid and responded well to his owner.

Judge going through evidence

Judge Sally Cahill QC is going through the evidence, including previous incidents in which Mr Joseph’s neighbours were bitten.

Proceedings underway again

The judge and the jury are back in the courtroom and the judge is starting to sum up.

Save his own skin accusation is unfair

Ms Pierpoint said there are three options of how the dog escaped the garden - including that she tunnelled underneath the fence, jumped over the fence or went through gate.But she said: “Nobody knows if she maybe did go through that gate.”
She also said that the accusation that her client has ‘simply tried to save his own skin’ since the incident is unfair.
She said: “Mr Joseph did take proper steps to make sure Alex was secured. “This was unforeseeable and something he could not be guarded against.”
The court’s broken for lunch.

Police knew dog was kept in wooden pen in gardens

Ms Pierpoint is discussing the conditions in which the dog was kept and the police’s assessment of the dog.

She said that Mr Joseph built a wooden pen, which the jury have seen photos of, for Alex in May 2016 in the communal garden and chained her up.

She also said Alex used to to scratch at her face and be able to remove the muzzle.

Ms Pierpoint said: “[Joseph] felt it was unfair for Alex to be kept throughout the summer in the flats.

“He built that pen with the help of his friends. He did not build that pen and just walk away, he wanted to make sure it was safe.”
Ms Pierpoint reminded the jury that at the end of June 2016, Alex was taken away by the police to be assessed as to whether she was a prohibited breed and was returned to Mr Joseph seven days before the incident.

She told the jury: “He says he was told [by police] the dog was not a prohibited breed. Well, that is right.”She added: “The authorities knew that she was going back to where she had been before, in that garden, in those circumstances.”

Court order breach

Addressing the dog control order, Ms Pierpoint told the jury: “You know that during that three year period - and it does not reflect well on Mr Joseph - he did not comply with that court order.

“He didn’t have Alex microchipped, he didn’t have her neutered, he did not have insurance for her. . .

“If the charge was breaking a court order you might find him guilty, but that is not the charge.”

Previous attacks

Ms Pierpoint is addressing the dog’s history of biting and scratching three other people.
She said: “The prosecution say the chronology is important because they say from pretty early on in 2010 Mr Joseph was aware he had a dangerous animal that was there at those premises.”
Describing an incident when the dog first bit a neighbour in 2010 as a ‘one-off incident, she said: “I don’t know when a puppy becomes a dog but in that summer of 2010, Alex would have been about six months old.”
She said that another incident, in which neighbour Lionel Brown was bitten by the dog as he put out the bins in April 2012, was not reported to the police.
She suggested that the dog was sometimes “overexcited and upset his neighbours”, but no one left the scene of those incidents “screaming blue murder saying ‘you’ve got to do something about this dog’.”

The decision is yours, jury told

Katherine Pierpoint, defending, is summing up now.
She said: “That morning a man lost his life. No one could have failed to feel upset and deep sympathy for Ms Josling, his partner, and that really goes without saying.
“Members of the jury no one wanted this to happen and no one expected the death of Mr Ellam to occur.”
She continued: “The reason you 12 are here is to determine whether Mr Aaron Joseph is guilty of a criminal offence.
“No one can tell you which verdict to reach. The decision is yours and yours alone.”

Save his own skin

Judge Sally Cahill QC has summed up the case to the jury and now prosecutor Richard Walters is doing the same.
He said: “One fact Mr Joseph cannot dispute is that when Alex attacked David Ellam the dog was not wearing a muzzle.”
He also told the jury: “He lied to the police when interviewed on the day of the attack and said the worst thing the dog had ever done was bite another dog’s ear.”
He added that Joseph has only ‘tried to save his own skin’.

Background to the case

Aaron Joseph went on trial a week ago. He is accused owning a dog which was dangerously out of control in connection with the death of David Ellam.

The dog, a cross bull terrier type called Alex, has since been destroyed. The court has heard it had previously been seized by the courts but given back.

Read the latest from Friday’s hearing here, where Joseph told the court he was “deeply sorry” for what happened to Mr Ellam.

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

Reporter in court

Court reporter Stephanie Finnegan is there for the case today.

You can follow her here.