Girl, 4, killed as van mounts pavement while she walked hand-in-hand with her mother to school

A girl of four was killed by a careering van yesterday as she walked hand-in-hand with her mother.

Caitlin Strutt was on her way to the doctor's with her mother Stacey, 22, when the Transit van and a car collided at a busy crossroads.

The van veered across the road, mounted the pavement and hit Caitlin and her mother, throwing them into a ditch.

Caitlin Strutt
Stacey Strutt

Tragedy: Four-year-old Caitlin Strutt was killed when a van mounted a pavement as she walked hand-in-hand with her mother Stacey

Passers-by found the little girl with horrendous injuries and her mother lying just feet away, screaming for her daughter.

As witnesses ran to the scene two men jumped out of the wrecked car, a Ford Focus, and ran off.

Caitlin was taken to hospital but died a short time later. Her mother was last night being treated for a badly-broken leg and shock.

The suspected driver of the Focus, a 39-year old woman who had also been taken to hospital suffering from shock, was later arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving.

Police are still hunting for the two passengers from the car, which had L-plates.

The driver of the van was questioned by police at the scene but not arrested.

Police tow away a car from the scene of the accident

Aftermath: Police tow away a Ford Focus that had collided with a transit van shortly before that vehicle knocked down the girl and her mother

The tragedy happened in Openshaw, Manchester, yesterday morning.

Caitlin's family were too distraught to comment last night, but a neighbour said: 'Caitlin was poorly and Stacey was taking her to the doctor because she had a fever.

'She was a lovely little girl, very pretty. She was beautiful and everyone said how respectful she was. She had just started school.

'I think now her mum is saying it's her fault because she took her to the doctor but you can't think like that. If your baby is poorly of course you have to take them to the doctor to see what's wrong.'

One man who saw the immediate aftermath of the crash said: 'Everyone was around the woman and trying to help but people knew there was nothing that could be done for the little girl.

'The screams of that mother will live with us for a very long time. It was a terrible and distressing scene.'

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