A POLICE dog handler has been served with a gross misconduct notice following the death of a pensioner who was savaged in her own home.

Irene Collins was attacked after she allowed officers to search her home in Penrith Road, Middlesbrough, for a drug suspect.

The 73-year-old was taken to Middlesbrough’s James Cook University Hospital on July 16, where she died four days later.

This morning (Friday, December 12), the Independent Police Complaints Commission announced that the officer was facing a gross misconduct investigation after he was interviewed under police caution.

An IPCC spokeswoman said: “The IPCC has served a Cleveland Police dog handler with a gross misconduct notice and interviewed him under criminal caution as part of its independent investigation into the death of Irene Collins.

“The officer was interviewed in relation to an allegation of failing to control a dog, contrary to the provisions of the Dangerous Dog Act 1991.

“IPCC investigators have obtained and considered information including police logs, radio communication, aerial footage and written statements from the officers who attended Mrs Collins house on July 16. They are also liaising with the Health and Safety Executive over its separate investigation.”

The police confirmed that the dog was put down in September.

Deputy Chief Constable Iain Spittal said: “Our thoughts remain with the family and friends of Irene Collins. We are continuing to assist the IPCC and the Health and Safety Executive with their investigations.”

An inquest was opened and adjourned at Middlesbrough Coroner's Court on August 6.