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24th Mar 2021

Owner apologises after her dog killed ‘Freddie Mercury’ the seal

Claudia McInerney

The lawyer whose dog mauled Freddie the seal said she wishes she put her dog on a lead

The barrister whose dog attacked the much-loved seal Freddie Mercury has apologised for the saddening attack, explaining that she is “heartbroken” by the “terrible accident”, the Evening Standard reported.

Freddie the seal, who was often spotted bathing on the banks of the river Thames, suffered serious injuries after being attacked by the dog on Sunday, which led vets to make the difficult decision to put the seal down on Monday.

The dog owner has since been identified as 49-year-old lawyer Rebecca Sabben-Clare, who specialises in commercial law.

Sabben-Clare told the Evening Standard: “I am heartbroken by this terrible accident.

“As an animal lover, I fully understand the dismay that has been expressed. I apologise unreservedly for what happened.

“In hindsight I wish, of course, that the dog had been on a lead but at the time that did not seem necessary.”

She praised the passers-by who helped her at the scene, describing them as “heroic”.

“I left for my own safety and that of my dog, believing that there was nothing that I could do to help as the seal was being looked after by a vet and help had been called. I offered my contact details to the vet before leaving,” she said.

Following the event, Sabben-Clare contacted the police, who pointed her in the direction of the RSPCA.

She told the Evening Standard: “The RSPCA interviewed me and confirmed that they were happy that no offence had been committed.”

Freddie the seal frequently entertained Londoners as he bathed by Hammersmith Bridge in southwest London.

People have flocked to social media to express their gratitude recall their memories of the seal.

One user tweeted: “Oh no… Freddie Mercury the seal (not sure it needed anthropomorphising) has died after being attacked by a dog. Our meeting was brief, but the poor creature made a lasting impression.”