A WOMAN believes she owes her life to the large handbag she was carrying when a vicious dog was set on her in the street.

Linda Clarke, 50, was left terrified by the unprovoked late-night attack.

She said a “deranged” woman set the Staffordshire bull terrier onto her at around 11pm on Sunday.

“She got the dog and started shouting ‘Go on! Get her, get her!’” she said.

“I was carrying a big leather handbag. It’s ripped to smithereens but it saved my life. It saved my hands and legs and body from being ripped asunder.”

Linda said she was walking home from a drink with friends when she heard a couple screaming at each other in the street in Windham Road, Boscombe.

Shortly afterwards, the man in the argument pulled up alongside her in a car and asked whether she was OK to get home. After he drove off, a woman ran up, screaming after the car, she said.

“Then she spotted me. I don’t know whether she had seen the car pulling up but she began screaming at me. She was screaming and started kicking me and I pushed her off.”

The woman then set the dog on her and began urging it on, Linda said.

“The woman was totally deranged. She looked like some sort of drug addict,” she said.

The ordeal only ended when Linda called out to the driver of a car stopped at traffic lights. She said the woman then called the dog off and Linda ran to her front door.

“She headed towards Kings Park, laughing her head off. I just collapsed in a heap in the hallway and burst into tears,” she said. “I didn’t sleep a wink that night thinking about what could have happened had I not had that bag.”

Anyone who can identify the dog owner should ring PC Alexander Smith of Boscombe Police on 01202 222 222.