The owner of a dog which bit a three-year-old boy has walked free from court after a judge ruled his dog should not be destroyed.
Les Kirk-Kingstone, 63, said his life was turned upside down after his beloved Japanese Akita bit toddler
Trafford-James Jackson-Poole in the Nags Head pub in Newbold last year.
But this week Mr Kirk-Kingstone was found not guilty of allowing his dog,
Tyber, to be dangerously out of control.
Following the attack Mr Kirk-Kingstone, who was relief manager at the pub, said he had lost three stone in weight and given up his job after 35 years in the pub trade.
He added: “I was absolutely devastated. I’ve had to live with this hanging over me for a year worrying that Tyber could be put down. I’d rather go to prison than have my dog destroyed.”
Mr Kirk-Kingstone told how seven-year-old Tyber had previously saved him from a vicious attack in the street after a pair of muggers attempted to steal the pub’s takings.
He added: “They kicked me to the floor and in the stomach. Tyber was in the car and saw I was in trouble. He jumped out of the window and bit one of the men in the arm and they ran off. He saved my life.”
Last January Mr Kirk-Kingstone said he was behind the bar when he heard a bark.
Tyber was asleep in a private back room which Trafford-James had wandered in to.
Mr Kirk-Kingstone said: “He crawled in and jumped onto the dog to play with him. He loved to play with Tyber but he startled him as he was asleep.”
After the attack Trafford-James needed 100 stitches in his cheek.
But a judge at Derby Crown Court ruled the toddler should not have been allowed to go in a private room and Mr Kirk-Kingstone and Tyber were not at fault.
Mr Kirk-Kingstone said: “It’s been a nightmare but all the locals have been very supportive. None of them wanted to see Tyber destroyed. He’s just a big softie.”
Following the attack last year Trafford-James’ parents Gemma Jackson and Matthew Poole, of Newbold, called for Tyber to be destroyed.
Trafford-James spent 24 hours in hospital and needed surgery on his left cheek and treatment for a fractured eye socket.
Speaking to the Derbyshire Times this week Gemma said she did not want to comment on the outcome of the court case or how her son had got into the pub’s private room.
She added Trafford-James was still scarred.