Baby twins Isabella and Lola Koupparis seriously injured in 'fox attack'

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By Kate Loveys and Ryan Kisiel
Last updated at 12:15 PM on 7th June 2010


Pauline Koupparis was visibly upset today as left her home, saying one of her twins was 'not doing so well'

Twin baby girls were being treated in hospital today after they were mauled by a fox as they slept.

Nine-month-old Isabella and Lola Koupparis were attacked as they slept in an upstairs room after the animal found its way into their house in London.

Police believe the fox made its way through patio doors left open because of the heat while the parents watched television.

One girl suffered wounds to an eye while the other has had surgery on an arm.

Their distraught mother Pauline Koupparis today described the condition of one of the girls as 'not so good'.

Pauline and her husband Nick dialled 999 at 10pm on Saturday after chasing the fox from their £800,000 three-storey Victorian terraced house in Stoke Newington, East London.

Today the girls were being treated in the Royal London Hospital where their conditions were described as 'serious, but stable'.

Emerging from her house today clutching a pack of nappies, Pauline was visibly upset. She said: ' We're just worried about them and making sure they're okay.

'One is really good and one is not so good.'

Accountant Mr Koupparis, 40, is head of finance at independent film and television production company Leopard Films, which recently made TV drama Missing, starring Pauline Quirk, for the BBC.

The couple, who also have a four-year-old son, Max, spent the night by their children's bedsides.

Environmental health officers have left baited traps in gardens in the area because they fear the fox might attack other children.

Vicious:The nine-month-old twins are in hospital after being hurt by the fox while sleeping in their cots

Vicious:The nine-month-old twins are in hospital after being hurt by the fox while sleeping in their cots

The Koupparis' next-door neighbour, Vgur Pekcin, 29, said last night: 'The fox jumped into their back garden and must have run up the stairs without them noticing.

'People heard screams and suddenly an ambulance and police turned up, sirens blazing, within minutes.

'I heard that the children were in a bad way and it's so horrible. There is a real fox problem round here and it's out of control.

'Only last week a fox came into my sitting room while I was watching TV.

'I don't know how it got into the house but it just looked at me. I had to throw a cushion at it to get it away.

'I don't think they're getting much food as they're tearing up our bins and taking desperate measures.'

Neighbours said the fox entered the home through large folding 'French style' patio doors which run the full width of the family's living room and were left open.

A metal cage, baited with a bowl of dog food, was placed by patio doors in an attempt to trap the fox.

Mr Pekcin said the trap was put in place by council environmental health officers yesterday morning after the fox returned to the house and tried to get in.

Last night, a fox was discovered in one of the devices and was humanely destroyed by a vet early today.

Frightening attack: Nick Koupparis, father of the twins, is at their hospital bedside after the fox attacked them while they slept in their three-storey house in Stoke Newington, London

Neighbour, Michael Parra, 48, said police had been going from house to house after the attack, warning residents not to leave their doors open.

He said: 'Police told us that in the hot weather we should keep our doors closed for our safety. We see a lot of foxes around here. They're always in our garden.

'Something should be done about them. I would love to get them out of here. They're really a nuisance and a danger. They've terrorised our garden.'

Fox Trap

Trap: Council officials placed a baited fox cage outside back doors of the East London property near where the fox entered. Last night, a fox was discovered in the trap and was humanely destroyed by a vet

The health trainer, who has lived in the street for six years, said he had complained about the fox problem to the local council but nothing had changed.

Locator map of Stoke Newington

The attack took place in the urban area of Stoke Newington, London

He added: 'I wonder how much they can do about the situation. I think the foxes are getting bolder. They almost go up to you. I've got fearful myself. They've gone towards my dog too.'

Another neighbour of the family, who knows them well, described the girls as 'beautiful'.

The woman, who lives next door but one and did not want to be named, said: 'They're beautiful little babies, really beautiful.

'We've all got foxes at the bottom of our gardens. Some people have got two or three living in their garden.

'They're all as bold as brass. You walk out into the garden and you have to shoo them away.'

Asked if she was worried about the safety of her own little boy, who is a similar age to the twins, she said: 'Of course, it was shocking.'

A Scotland Yard spokesman said: 'Hackney environmental health officers arranged for traps to be set in the rear garden of the address.

'(Last night) a neighbour informed environmental health officers that an animal could be heard in one of the traps.

'Police attended with a local authority pest controller and a fox was indeed found in a trap.

'A vet was called to establish if it was safe to move the animal. It was determined it was not and the fox was humanely killed by the pest controller at approximately 12.15am.

'The traps will remain in situ for the time being.'

A London Ambulance Service spokesman said: 'We were called by the police to an address in E9 just after 10pm.

'The ambulance crew saw to two patients who were involved in a suspected fox attack. They were transferred to the Royal London Hospital.'

Tommy Walsh, the celebrity builder from BBC's Ground Force lives opposite the Kouppasis' house.

RADA trained actor Ben Whishaw, who starred in the 2008 film Brideshead Revisited, lives a few doors down.

Scottish actor John Hannah, who starred in 1994 film Four Weddings and a Funeral and Sliding Doors opposite Gwyneth Paltrow in 1998, also lives close by.

In urban areas of England there are an estimated 27 foxes per square mile, but no record of a person being seriously injured by one until Saturday night's attack.

Attacks have been recorded where a female fox has defended its cubs.

Even in these circumstances the vixen is far more likely to attempt to flee, and will not try to fight unless evasion is impossible.

The only previously recorded fox attack on a human in an urban area in Britain which resulted in hospital treatment was when a pensioner was bitten in Edinburgh in August 2004.

Margaret O'Shaughnessy, 88, was left with a threeinch-long bite mark on her leg following the attack in the Firrhill area of the city when she went into her garden late at night to feed her cat.

Mrs O'Shaughnessy was taken to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, where she had her leg dressed and was given a tetanus injection.

Occasional attacks in the countryside have been recorded. Rural foxes tend to be much larger than their city counterparts and can prey on animals as large as lambs.

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i always have a fox or 3 sometimes wondering around my backyard , hiding inside the pool.... i really can't enjoy sitting outside without being fearful , really has become a nuisance. Even when i walk back home there's a fox jumping out of no where...sits there and stares at me.. i wasn't that afraid before, but it seems they are becoming more and more vicious...
i remember when pigeons weren't so aggressive, now they're so intimidating...! same thing with fox

- s, london, 07/6/2010 12:28

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Mary, Glasgow:

I am afraid that you have been mis-informed. Foxes are not protected, they are classed as vermin therefore, you can legally kill them as a form of pest control.

You may kill them by shooting, humanely trapping and dispatching them, or by many other means but you are not allowed to hunt using hounds to kill them. You may however, use dogs to flush them out into the open and then shoot them but then again, the dogs may kill the fox first.

It's really a class thing! It upset lefties because they think that all fox hunters are toffs but working class folk would never kill foxes. I also think that an urban fox harming a child is as rare as rocking horse dung however, it's not impossible. If, at all, it really was a fox that attacked the babies: out of all the many foxes in the neighbourhood, this one was probably rouge or diseased. It may very well be that the one trapped and killed was the one responsible and there may never be any more attacks.

- Farmer Giles, Truro, Cornwall, 07/6/2010 12:28

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When a fox see's a human, it runs away with fright and cannot hide fast enough from them. I think something else did this to these little girls, such as a jelous family pet, and the foxes have caught blame for this to spare the life of the beloved family dog..just a thought. Foxes are very timid animals.
- Just Jules, Uk, 7/6/2010 11:37

You REALLY think that parents would blame a fox and keep the family dog that had savaged their children? You have a very, very strange outlook on life, perhaps you and others making similar judgements need help! Read other posts here, where peole have had 'timid' foxes enter their homes
- red, uk, 7/6/2010 12:00

I totally agree, what responsible parents would then keep the family dog that had done so much damage to their children?? I would think that any one would feel more loyalty to their baby twins then to their dog no matter how much they loved it! I know I would!

- Zoe, Kent, 07/6/2010 12:27

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They have said it was a suspected fox attack, though all you narrow minded people out there are saying straight away that it was a fox. What makes you the experts. When dogs attack they are always assumed to be a dangerous breed because the so called experts say so. Humans are encroaching on animal habitats on a daily basis. Instaed of leaving patio doors open they should have left a window open. It wouldn't have been able to get through and upstairs. The only vermin in this world are people who don't know what they are talking about. All animal hunting is disgusting. Just because a fox was caught in a trap did not mean it was the attacker.

- Falcon37, Norwich England, 07/6/2010 12:27

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This is very odd indeed.

- Helen Marianne, Eastbourne. East Sussex, 07/6/2010 12:27

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I feel really bad for these children and I hope there recovery is speedy.

All you saying bring back Fox Hunting, don't be so naive, fox hunting only happens in the country side and does not make that much difference to the fox numbers. Your not going to see a bunch of toffee nosed red coats riding through suburban areas are you. Its older people in the suburban areas, stop feeding the foxes. They are starving because they have bred to much. It is a horrible way for a fox to die but its a natures way of culling of a species who have bred to much.
They are wild animals leave them be. Nature has a way of coping with masses. You feed them they see human as a food resource and of course they are going to lose there fear of human.

Again I wish the babies a speedy recovery

- Anonymous, Oxofrdshire, 07/6/2010 12:26

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