Rowan Diedrick, 29, was walking his two pet rottweilers along Southend Beach, when one of the rottweilers attacked a 7 year old boy in the sea and dragged him under water. The boy's Grandmother pulled the dog away and it then turned on her causing serious injuries to her arm requiring 60 stitches.
This matter was the subject of extensive appeals on the local news networks for the owner of the dogs to be identified to police. CCTV footage showed what appeared to be a young male walking away from the scene with the two dogs, however it was Mr Diedrick's own Mother who ended the 6 month enquiry to try and identify the owner, by identifying her son as the person responsible.
Mr Diedrick was originally sentenced at Southend Crown Court to 16 months imprisonment, having pleaded guilty to the offence. However, Mr Diedrick appealed his sentence as being too severe taking into account all the facts of the case.
The Court of Appeal accepted that an immediate sentence of imprisonment was justifiable, but disagreed with the Crown Court judge as to the level of the sentence saying that despite the shocking nature of the case, the Defendant's culpability in the case should not be over stated. They accepted that the dogs had no previous history of attacks and even given the risks posed by rottweilers as a breed, the Defendant's culpability in letting the dogs off the lead on a beach could not be categorised as a high degree of recklessness. In their view the sentencing Judge had failed to take sufficient account of a recent incident that had been put to the Court in mitigation in which the Defendant had intervened to assist the victim of a stabbing attack.
In taking all things into consideration, in the view of the Court of Appeal, the sentence imposed had been too high and therefore the 16 month sentence was quashed and a sentence of 11 months imprisonment was substituted.
Mr Diedrick will be required to serve half of his sentence before being released into the community.