Girl killed 'trying to break up a fight'

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A 13-year-old girl died from head injuries after being attacked by a group of girls who set upon her "like a pack of animals", it emerged last night.

Louise Allen was surrounded and kicked by up to 30 girls near a funfair in Corby, North-ants, last night, according to witnesses. She suffered massive head injuries and was taken to Kettering General Hospital.

Louise, of Steyning Close, Corby, was officially declared dead yesterday afternoon after her parents, John and Ellen, gave permission for her life- support machine to be switched off.

Police are questioning two 13-year-old girls but said that the investigation would not be treated as a murder inquiry until the results of a post mortem were known.

According to a man, aged 18, whose home overlooks the spot, Louise was attacked by several girls. He said: "The first thing I heard was girls shouting and I looked out the window and saw a group of about 30 girls walking down from the funfair. As I stood watching them I noticed the group of girls got into a circle around two girls fighting.

"One of the girls seemed to be winning. Then the group started egging on the other girl. They were obviously on the side of the girl who was losing.

"Then I saw one of the girls, the one who had been winning, try to crawl out underneath their legs, but they wouldn't let her out and the whole group seemed to lay into her, kicking her as she lay on the ground.

"This seemed to go on for only a few seconds, then two girls ran away from the group to the house next door to hours. They were crying."

He said police arrived and began talking to the girls. "By this time the girls had scattered and they were walking around crying. One of the girls was sitting on the ground," he said.

"The police started talking to her and all of a sudden she appeared to collapse. They appeared to be doing heart massage, then they just picked her up and ran towards an ambulance that had arrived.

"Her arms were limp; they were just hanging. I've never seen anything like it, they were like a pack of animals the way they laid into her."

Last night bunches of flowers were piled near the spot where she had died.

Classmates at her school, Our Lady and Pope John, in Corby, were given counselling yesterday to help them come to terms with the tragedy and a special mass is planned at the school on Thursday.

The Rev Niall Sheridan, chairman of governors at Our Lady and Pope John School, said Louise's parents were "wrecked" by the tragedy.

Mr Sheridan said her death was a mindless, tragic act. "She was a lovely sweet girl with a lovely personality," he said.