A woman who was arrested after a seven-year-old girl was stabbed to death in a park in front of her parents has been detained under the Mental Health Act.
Police were called to Queens Park, in Bolton, on Sunday afternoon following the ‘totally unprovoked and random’ attack.
The girl had been out with her family enjoying Mother’s Day when she was attacked by a woman with a knife.
She suffered ‘horrendous injuries’, according to police, and died at short time later.
Pictured: Police parked at a cordoned-off entrance to Queen’s Park, Bolton where a seven-year-old girl died this afternoon after being stabbed
The woman was not know to the girl or her family.
Eyewitnesses described how they saw the girl being given CPR as two adults stood ‘covered in blood’ nearby.
Others had seen her attacker run off across the park.
A woman, 30, who was detained after being chased by a member of the public at the scene, was later arrested on suspicion of murder.
Assistant Chief Constable Russ Jackson, of Greater Manchester Police, said: ‘The woman arrested yesterday at the scene of the attack on the little girl in Bolton has now been detained under the Mental Health Act.
‘We have informed the family of the woman’s detention. They are understandably distraught over what happened yesterday and we will continue to support them with family liaison officers in the coming months.
‘It is hard to describe how terrible this incident was, the attack happened in front of the parents of this little girl who had taken her out yesterday afternoon to enjoy the spring sun and play in the park.
‘Having seen this horrendous attack, a member of the public bravely chased after the woman and detained her until police arrived and arrested her. I would like to thank him for his actions which enabled us to quickly arrest her and prevent anything else from happening.
‘Several officers who attended the park were very young in service in the police, some with only weeks on independent police patrol. They and all the officers who went to the scene are incredibly upset over what has happened and all of us have this little girl and her family in our thoughts.
‘I want to stress that this is not an end to the criminal investigation, we will consider the evidence and consult with the Crown Prosecution Service and if appropriate we will be seeking criminal charges.’
Police remain at the scene today and a large section in the north-east part of the park is still sealed off as investigations continue.
Social media users have struggled to make sense of the attack.
One wrote: ‘R.I.P to the little girl who’s life has been cruelly taken by a woman on Queens Park in Bolton.Stabbing her in the neck. What has this world come to at all?’
Another added: ‘Cruel world we live in.’
Emergency services were called to Queen’s Park in Bolton at around 2.30pm today after reports a young girl had been attacked by a woman with a knife.
All entrances to the 22-acre park were taped off and families were told to leave the area as forensic officers carried out investigations this afternoon.
Around ten police cars flocked to the park and the North West Air Ambulance attended the scene as medics desperately tried to the save the seven-year-old’s life.
Witness Kelly Roscoe said on Facebook: ‘Me and Lee have just taken Ava for some fresh air in Queen’s Park and have just witnessed a little girl being given CPR with two adults stood covered in blood.
All entrances to the park were taped off and families were told to leave the area as forensic officers carried out investigations at the scene
‘Police, ambulance and helicopters everywhere covering the park!!!’
Kyra Coop said she watched two police officers ‘running as fast as they could’ across the park, before another child told her a girl had been stabbed.
‘We were sat on the benches near the railings, close to the big car park and the kids were playing when we saw two police officers running across the park as fast as they could,’ she said.
‘Then we saw the big [air] ambulance hovering over and landing. You know when you see that it is something serious.
‘Then a girl ran over and said a little girl had been stabbed. The police started coming round and asking everyone to leave, and that’s what we did. It left us really shaken up. We had to reassure the kids as they were really upset.’
Another witness, Paula Whylie, said she had watched an Air Ambulance land in the park from a nearby hospice room.
‘It’s all taped off now,’ she added. ‘If what I’m reading is right we are living in a sad, sad world.’
Others described ‘at least ten’ police cars descending on the park, with ‘both main entrances’ closed and the rest ‘cordoned off’.
Witnesses described ‘at least 10’ police cars descending on the park (pictured), with ‘both main entrances’ closed and the rest ‘cordoned off’
Russ Jackson, Assistant Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police, said ‘words cannot describe how awful this attack is’ as he confirmed the death in a statement (Pictured: Police at the scene)
‘There’s around ten officers guarding one entrance. There’s a bit of a crowd of people forming as well,’ one witness added.
The park had been busy with families enjoying the weekend sunshine despite Government advice to avoid public gatherings amid the coronavirus pandemic.
In a statement, Russ Jackson said: ‘Words cannot describe how awful this attack is. The family were out in the park, enjoying the spring sun when in a totally unprovoked and random attack this little girl sustained horrendous injuries and sadly died a short while later.
‘A 30-year-old woman who was not known to the family was detained by a member of the public and then arrested by the police. She is currently in custody for murder and it is expected she will be interviewed by detectives later.
‘We are working to understand the motive for this completely random and brutal attack. We understand that the woman has some history of mental illness and we are working to understand if this played any part in her motive.
‘We have sent specialist family liaison officers to support the family. This is a family’s worst nightmare. The incident is horrendous and I cannot begin to imagine what the family of this little girl are going through.
‘We are determined to quickly understand how this came to happen, leaving a young family so distraught and so devastated in an instant.’