A three-year old girl who was shot with an air rifle in a London park came within inches of being killed, police have said.
The child was hit by a pellet as she played in Hanworth Park in Feltham, near Hounslow in west London.
Officers say the projectile pierced her abdomen but narrowly avoided her stomach, which would have created a more serious wound.
The girl has now made a recovering after being taken to hospital.
Police are still searching for the people responsible and have reviewed CCTV footage but have no leads to go on.
Detective Constable Helen Larson said: “This was a horrific incident and we are appealing for anyone with information to contact police.
“The bullet was within inches of penetrating the girl’s stomach. This could have proved fatal.
“The girl’s grandfather saw a group of boys in the park running out from bushes nearby, but he was far too concerned about his granddaughter to take in how many of them there were or their ages.
“We need to find the person or persons responsible.
“She has now been released from hospital and is making a good recovery and her parents have told us she is well in herself.
“While the diameter of the wound was only about 5-7mm the bullet travelled between 5 and 10cm deep into her body.
“We have trawled CCTV and conducted searches of the area but thus far have not found any leads which may help us identify who was responsible.”
London’s Evening Standard newspaper quotes a number of local residents saying they were afraid to return to the park until the culprit is caught.Reuse content