Couple to stand trial over death of their 12-day-old baby after he was mauled by family dog

A couple whose newborn baby was mauled to death by a dog at their home will stand trial next year.

Abigail Ellis, 28, and Stephen Joynes, 36, appeared in court today (Oct 11) over the tragic death of son Elon Jase Ellis-Joynes last year.

Elon was only 12 days old when he was fatally bitten by his family's Chow Chow-cross called Teddy on September 13, 2020.

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His parents are both accused of owning or being in charge of a dog dangerously out of control causing injury resulting in death.

Abigail Ellis, 28, and Stephen Joynes, 36, will stand trial over the death of their son Elon

Ellis and Joynes, both of Doncaster, both denied the charges when they appeared before Sheffield Crown Court for a brief hearing.

The pair spoke only to confirm their dates of birth and to enter their pleas before the Recorder of Sheffield, Judge Jeremy Richardson QC.

They were granted unconditional bail and a trial, expected to last five days, has been set for next July.

The court also heard that the dog had since been destroyed.

Judge Richardson QC told them: "You are required by law to furnish the court and prosecution with a defence statement. This is not a mere formality, it is a very important document. Any default in receiving it could, in certain circumstances, be held against you.

"It is really important that you cooperate with your defence lawyers with the production of this document. You have to be at the court for your trial. If you do not attend, the trial will as likely as not go ahead without you and you could be unrepresented.

"You are both released on unconditional bail."

An inquest opening into Elon's death, held last year, heard he was still alive when his heartbroken mother frantically called an ambulance.

Doncaster coroner's court heard that she told the 999 call handler that Elon was breathing, but was "really poorly" and was "bleeding from his leg or his stomach".

Elon, who was born on September 1, 2020, was rushed to hospital but was pronounced dead a short time later.

Floral tributes were left at the family's mid-terrace house as well-wishers and neighbours offered their support for the family.