Dogs which killed Morden pensioner tossed cat 'like teddy bear'
Two of the dogs believed to have killed a popular pensioner scared a cat to death several weeks ago, it was revealed today.
Five dogs have been seized by police after Gloria Knowles, 71, was heard screaming in the garden of her daughter’s home in Rutland Drive, Morden, near Sutton Common Recreation Grounds, last night.
It is believed she was attacked by the canines, including two Belgian mastiffs, as she entered the back garden to feed them.
The dogs are believed to be owned by her daughter, Beverley, and her husband Dylon, who lived next door to Mrs Knowles.
She was discovered by Dylon at about 6pm after he came home from work.
Police and ambulance arrived at the scene just before 6.30pm last night but Mrs Knowles was pronounced dead at the scene.
Kevin Harrison, a next door neighbour, said he heard “hysterical screaming” while he was watching television at about 5.15pm.
He said: "I thought it was Beverley’s son next door. He’s about 11-years-old and has attention deficit disorder. He sometimes goes hysterical when the other children wind him up. It sounded like it was him just screaming and the dogs were barking, as they often do.
"Then at 7pm the road was full of police cars. I opened the door and couldn’t believe my eyes. The whole road was blocked off. He said that no one was in the house at 5.15pm.
“They said they were trying to find out if Gloria died from a heart attack after being frightened by the dogs or if she was killed by being mauled.
“She didn’t shout ‘help’ or anything like that, it was just screaming without words. If she had I would have reacted differently. I went on for about five minutes.
"Gloria had come in the back way through the fence. She came in that way to feed the dogs.
"They are in and out all the time. She came in to feed the dogs and the police said to me there was no one else in the house.
"I’m ever so upset that I didn’t realise what was going on. I woke up last night in a cold sweat because I can’t stop thinking about what would I would have done.
"I used to be a professional wrestler, I was in the 1968 Mexico Games, but these are big dogs. They would have easily put me on the ground at my age."
'The dog started acting strange and threw the cat in the air'
It was also revealed today that the 18-month old mastiffs had caused concern two months after they attacked a cat which died from shock.
Beverley and Dylon were known to be big dog lovers, who owned two Belgian mastiffs, a husky, and a shitsu, but they also owned a cat.
Mr Harrison said: "It was a really friendly cat and it suddenly went missing for a week.
"I asked Beverley what happened and she said it was dead.
"It was sleeping with the Belgian dogs in its bed. The dog started acting strange and threw the cat in the air. It didn’t bite it or chew it.
"Then the other came in and they were tossing the cat like it was a teddy bear. That night it died from shock.
"They used to have Alsatian and great danes. The never seemed aggressive to me.
"They are a really nice family, a close family, and Gloria lived around here for about 50 years."
'Such a lovely family'
Gloria originally lived at what is now her daughter's house with her husband, Victor, a smoker who died four years ago from throat cancer.
After his death, she moved next door and Beverley moved in with Dylon and their four children.
Their eldest daughter, now in her early twenties, then moved in with Gloria, along with her boyfriend and their baby.
Gloria’s father started the Harrington pie and mash shop in Selkirk Road, Tooting, which is now owned by Beverley.
Debbie Hedges, 57, from Worcester Park, is a regular customer at the shop and said: “I didn’t know her personally but we used to go in there for dinner.
"We always had a chat with her when we went in and she was always friendly and smiling.
"We have known her for years and it was just such a shock.
"It leaves you cold. You just think oh my god.
"She was such a lovely lady and was very family-orientated. It’s just tragic.”
A post-mortem examination is due to take place at St Georges Hospital Mortuary on Thursday November 1.
Police confirmed that no arrests have been made and that enquiries are ongoing.