Stabbed girl's mother released by police

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The Independent Online

The mother of a six-year-old girl who was stabbed in the chest was released by police without charge.

Officers were called to the family's end-of-terrace house on an estate in Surrey just after midnight yesterday after neighbours heard raised voices.

The girl was taken from the scene in Rowan Close on the Bellfields Estate in Guildford to the Royal Surrey County Hospital.

Her injuries were described as serious but Surrey Police later said her condition was comfortable and she was "doing well" in hospital.

The girl's 44-year-old mother - who received stab wounds to her hand - and her 28-year-old partner were arrested on suspicion of attempted murder.

She was freed last night but her partner remained in police custody, a force spokeswoman said.

Neighbours described the injured girl, named in reports as Megan Simmonds-Earley, as a "little angel" who would often be seen playing outside on the grass.

Julie Lester said the mother's younger boyfriend, with whom she had been together for a few months, would regularly visit.

She said the woman was disabled and had the use of a motorised buggy.

She had been estranged from the girl's father for more than a year, said mother-of-two Mrs Lester, 48.

She added that the girl celebrated her birthday only a couple of weeks ago.

Mrs Lester, who works for DIY chain B&Q, said: "She's lovely, a good girl and very bright. We would get together in the garden and do stuff."

She denied any suggestion that the couple had a tempestuous relationship and was not aware of any instances of police being called.

"I never saw or heard anything," said Mrs Lester. "Someone rang me and said there is a bit of activity down your end, go out and have a look, and all this was going on."

Adam Howlett, 35, a yardman for Guildford Borough Council, who lives six doors away from the family, said: "They are very quiet, normal people.

"I came in quite late and I heard raised voices from inside the house. I looked out of my window but I couldn't see anything.

"I then saw loads of police turning up. When I heard a girl had been stabbed I was shocked, very shocked.

"It's not the sort of thing that you expect to happen on your doorstep. It's a little bit rough round here but no rougher than any other places.

"The people have been living here for at least a couple of years.

"The girl was a little angel, a little princess. She's a happy girl who would play on the grass outside."

Two police officers stood guard outside the two-storey property, which was surrounded by police tape, as forensic officers in white suits carried out inquiries inside.

A Bellfields resident, who declined to be named, compared the estate to that featured on the Channel 4 drama Shameless.

She said: "The families of Shameless haven't got a patch on those round here. I haven't been out on my own for eight years after I was attacked.

"Drink and drugs are a problem round here. A lot of windows are boarded up and there are a lot of single people with high unemployment.

"I only feel safe with my dog."

Another resident, Joanne McDermott, 27, a mother-of-two, said: "It's scary. When something like this happens so close to your own home, it's worrying."

A spokeswoman for South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Trust said it was called to an address in Guildford following reports of a woman and child being injured.

"The trust was called to Bellfields in Guildford just before midnight on Wednesday June 9," she said.

"Ambulance clinicians treated and then took a 44-year-old woman with injuries to her hand and a six-year-old girl with serious injuries to her chest to Royal Surrey Hospital in Guildford."