A child has suffered horrendous injuries after being mowed down by cyclists, in a hit-and-run while she walked on a seafront promenade with her mother.
Aaliyah Raj, 4, sustained significant facial injuries after she was knocked down by two cyclists on Eastbourne promenade, police said.
The girl and her mother, Samita, had been walking to get an ice cream with two family friends when the incident happened on Thursday at 6.30pm.
One of the bikes rode over the girl’s body then stopped “briefly just to hurl abuse at me,” her mother said, before they sped off towards the pier.
“I’m still in shock about it all,” Samita told The Independent. “Aaliyah’s doing a lot better now. I’ve managed to get her out of the house today.
“She does have little moments. Just before she got out of the car she started crying. It breaks my heart, I don’t even know what to say to her.”
After the incident Aaliyah was on the floor screaming. Samita managed to flag down a passing police car and the girl was taken to hospital to be treated for cuts and bruises.
“I didn’t see them coming as I had my back to them. I heard a big kerfuffle and at first it didn’t even click that it was her on the floor,” Samita said. “I don’t understand how he wouldn’t have seen her.”
She has temporarily taken Aaliyah out of nursery so that her injuries have time to heal, while local residents, who are strangers to the family, rally together to buy teddy bears and tickets for a local zoo.
Officers are now trawling through CCTV images and are appealing for witnesses to come forward with information that could be helpful to the investigation.
The cyclists are described as white men in their 20s, both bare-chested riding mountain bikes. One was wearing blue shorts and Air Max trainers.
Sergeant Julian Williams, for Sussex Police, said: “This section of the promenade is a no cycling zone. We are investigating this incident and are keen for any witnesses or the cyclists to come forward.
“If you can help please contact us on 101 or email firstname.lastname@example.org quoting serial 1455 of 3/7.
“Town centre CCTV has pictures of the cyclists which we will consider releasing to the media should they not come forward.”