A 10-year-old girl who was attacked by an XL Bully in Erith said to first-aiders “if I die tell my parents I love them”. 

The girl was attacked by a dog named Charlie while she was playing at a friend's house on Byron Drive on April 1 last year. 

Last Thursday (February 8) Danielle Roberts, 42, was jailed for perverting the course of justice and being in charge of a dangerously out-of-control dog which caused injury. 

The court heard that she tried to cover up the devastating XL Bully attack, telling her daughter “sort that girl out or we’ll be in trouble”. 

She told the young girl to hide in the bathroom from police, who had been called by a neighbour. 

Roberts initially refused to let police inside until the injured girl staggered downstairs and called out “help me”. 

She was rushed to hospital with serious injuries. 

At Woolwich Crown Court prosecutor Jade Sodipo summarised a victim statement from the girl. 

“She says she’s ok with her injuries and doesn’t care what anyone will think about them,” Ms Sodipo said. 

“But she said that if the injuries to her face don’t heal she’ll feel bad as she won’t be able to smile again.” 

The young girl also explained how she was once happy to see big dogs, but now freezes and feels nervous around them. 

News Shopper: Danielle Roberts told officers 'get lost if you don't have a warrant'Danielle Roberts told officers 'get lost if you don't have a warrant' (Image: Met Police)

'Covered in blood’ 

Outlining the case, prosecutor Jade Sodipo said the 10-year-old victim went to Roberts’ house on Byron Drive, Erith, for a playdate on April 1 last year. 

The two girls were in the bedroom when Charlie, an XL Bully belonging to Danielle’s then-boyfriend Dean Roberts, started barking at another dog out the window. 

Charlie then turned around and started to attack the 10-year-old girl. 

The horror attack continued for a sustained period until Roberts’ daughter managed to get Charlie off and put him outside. 

The victim was covered in blood with puncture wounds across her body. 

As no adults were in the house, Roberts’ daughter phoned her mum. 

They spoke on the phone for 13 minutes as Roberts rushed back to her house from Charlton. 

Ms Sodipo said that during that time Roberts told her daughter not to call emergency services but to “sort that girl out or we’ll be in trouble”. 

Giving evidence in court, Roberts said she was not aware of how serious the injuries were at the time. 

“I just thought that he’d nipped at her,” Roberts said.  

But Judge Philip Shorrock refused to accept this explanation. 

He said: “I find it absolutely inconceivable that you weren’t told how seriously injured she was. I am confident you knew exactly how badly this young girl was injured.” 

‘Get lost if you don’t have a warrant’ 

Seeing the huge XL Bully outside the house covered in blood, a troubled neighbour phoned the police. 

Roberts arrived home just as police got there. 

Ms Sodipo said Roberts took Charlie back into the house and locked him in the living room, and told the wounded girl to lock herself in the upstairs bathroom. 

Roberts then told officers everything was fine and that nobody else was in the house. 

When officers insisted on coming inside she told them to get lost unless they had a warrant, the court heard. 

Meanwhile the young girl was passing in and out of consciousness in the bathroom. 

The officers heard her call out “help me”, Ms Sodipo said. 

Judge Shorrock said: “When the officer explained that he didn’t need a warrant and the criminal evidence act would get him inside,  Ms Roberts stood aside because she knew the game was up.” 

As Roberts stood aside, the young girl came staggering downstairs covered in blood. 

‘I’ve got no excuse, I panicked’ 

Abigail Penny, representing Roberts in court, said: “Ms Roberts had no hint that this dog would behave as he did. The dog had always been very good around her children.”  

Roberts explained that the dog belonged to her then-boyfriend, Dean, who was keeping it at her house until he could get rid of his other XL Bully which lived at his home. 

She said that his reaction to the news had influenced her actions. 

Roberts claims that when Dean heard about the attack, he told her: “If anything happens to me or my dog I will come for you.” 

Ms Penny told the court that Roberts had taken precautions before going out, including locking Charlie in the kitchen and telling her daughter not to have friends round. 

Regarding her lies, Roberts told the court: “I’ve got no excuse. I was panicking. I was anxious. I was scared. 

“When she appeared at the top of the stairs and came down, I immediately stepped to the side and police rushed to her. 

“The sight of her, I was.... it was horrible. I was distraught. I wish I had been there that day, it wouldn’t have happened.” 

'20 months’ 

Sentencing Roberts, Judge Shorrock said: “It is common knowledge, and has been for some while, that American XL Bullies have an unpredictable streak in their temperament, that shows itself from time to time when they attack people without warning. 

“Anybody who reads the newspaper, watches television, or listens to the radio, knows this. It follows that anyone that welcomes a dog like Charlie into his or her home has to be extremely vigilant. 

“It is this court’s view that leaving a young girl at home with this dog was a risky thing to do.” 

Judge Shorrock told Roberts that when she found out about the attack she should have taken immediate action to get the young girl medical attention. 

“You, as a mother yourself, instead decided to try to bide some time to work things out yourself,” he said. 

“When you were later interviewed by police, you still didn’t come clean about what had occurred.” 

He handed Roberts one year and eight months prison sentence, of which she’ll serve half before she is eligible for release. 

As she wept he told her: “To pass any other sentence would lead to inadequate punishment and would not deter anyone who keeps a dog like Charlie."

Roberts will also be disqualified from keeping dogs for five years.