Danielle's mother recalls last words of her dying girl

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The Independent Online

Danielle Beccan's mother begged her daughter to "come back" as she cradled the dying 14-year-old in her arms. Paula Platt revealed yesterday that her daughter, who was fatally wounded in a drive-by shooting in Nottingham on Friday night, regained consciousness long enough for a last goodbye.

Danielle Beccan's mother begged her daughter to "come back" as she cradled the dying 14-year-old in her arms. Paula Platt revealed yesterday that her daughter, who was fatally wounded in a drive-by shooting in Nottingham on Friday night, regained consciousness long enough for a last goodbye.

Mrs Platt, 32, said: "I spoke to her just before she went back into resus[citation]. "I said, 'I love you'. She said, 'I love you too, mum'. I said, 'Come back to us, I will be waiting for you'. She said, 'I will, but I can't talk, I'm in too much pain'. Those were the last words she said to me."

Four men arrested in London on Monday for questioning about the shooting were released without charge yesterday by police in Nottingham.

Danielle was shot a few hundred yards from her home in the St Ann's district of the city by the occupant of a gold-coloured car after returning from the city's annual Goose Fair with friends. Mrs Platt was immediately telephoned by one of the child's friends. "I grabbed my shoes and ran out of the door, even though I didn't know where I was going," Mrs Platt said. "She was lying on the floor. I could see a bullet hole in her top. I knelt down beside her and she was closing her eyes. I told her to stay awake and keep conscious. She said she felt like she was dying. I said, 'Just stay awake, stay awake'."

Danielle's father, Dale Beccan, 38, joined appeals to help find her killer yesterday. Mr Beccan said that Danielle was a girl "who would brighten up people's lives".

Danielle had just started to develop an interest in a career as a fashion designer or beautician. Three weeks before her death, Danielle had persuaded the Elliott Durham School, which she attended, to let her spend two days a week studying fashion at a local youth inclusion project. Her work on an outfit for a forthcoming discohad continued until the day before she died.

She had also been visiting local beauty and hair salons in search of work. Seean Maxwell, one of her mentors, said: "She had been fantastic, especially in the last couple of weeks."

Mrs Platt said her daughter had many other ambitions. "She could have been a pop star or an actress. She liked her R&B and her reggae, but her tastes were varied," she said.

Mrs Platt said her daughter had wanted to stay in St Ann's when fears of rising crime prompted the family to consider moving away "We talked of moving out. Danielle said, 'No, stay'. It didn't really influence us but it made us think. Now we think we need to get our kids out of here."

Two weeks ago, Mr Beccan was spared a jail sentence after admitting growing cannabis, but police insist the shooting is not drugs-related. Detectives have been granted a 36-hour extension to continue questioning a fifth man arrested in London.