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Emma Knell, from East Malling, convicted of owning dangerously out of control dog which bit off postman's finger

The owner of a Staffordshire bull terrier which bit off part of a postman's finger as he put mail through the door has been convicted by magistrates.

Emma Knell, 37, was found guilty after magistrates sitting in Sevenoaks heard Keith Bourne was attacked in April 18 as he pushed post through the letterbox of her home in Elm Crescent, East Malling.

Part of the ring finger on his right hand was severed and attempts to re-attach it were not successful.

Knell had claimed Mr Bourne had been trespassing.

She also told police that her dog always reacted when the post was delivered and frequently tried to grab it.

Knell, who was convicted of owning a dog dangerously out of control causing injury, also admitted that he had asked her to take steps to stop the dog from doing this. The court was told that, since the attack, an external letterbox has been put in.

Emma Knell leaves Sevenoaks Magistrates' Court (4248207)
Emma Knell leaves Sevenoaks Magistrates' Court (4248207)

Following the case Mr Bourne, a postman of seven years, said: "I was just posting a letter, it didn't go right through the door so I pushed it through and the dog bit my finger, that's it.

"I expected a guilty verdict because I couldn't see any defence for her. She's the dog owner, she's responsible for her dog.

"There's not a lot I can do, she had no insurance on her house, no pet insurance, so I'm not going to get any compensation out of it. I'm just glad she was found guilty for some sort of justice to be done.

Postman Keith Bourne lost part of his ring finger when he was bitten by Emma Knell's Staffie (6889221)
Postman Keith Bourne lost part of his ring finger when he was bitten by Emma Knell's Staffie (6889221)

"It has been quite traumatic. I'm not so bad now, I've accepted it and you have just got to get on with life. I won't do that round now, but I am still a postman. At first I wanted to stay inside, but once I went out and got the confidence back, I'm not too bad.

"I'm still frightened when I see a dog but that's to be expected."

Nigel Pilkington, from the CPS, said: “The defendant knew how her dog reacted to the post being delivered and failed to do anything about it, which led to this attack.

“The defence had claimed that the postman was trespassing on the defendant’s property, as he had to enter through a gate, but it was our case that postmen and women have to be able to securely deliver the mail and therefore have a right to be on someone’s property.

"The law was changed precisely to protect postmen and women who enter private property.

Sevenoaks Magistrates Court, London Road, Sevenoaks
Sevenoaks Magistrates Court, London Road, Sevenoaks

“This means they do have to put their fingers through a letterbox on occasions and should be able to do so without fear of attack.

“We were able to use case law to prove our point, including a very similar case in Stockport, where the defendant was also convicted of the same charge.”

Knell will be sentenced in March.

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