Northern Ireland

Bessbrook toddler critically ill after suspected assault

Bessbrook police officer Image copyright PAcemaker
Image caption A police officer at the house where the alleged attack happened

Police are questioning a man in his 20s about an alleged assault on a two-year-old girl in County Armagh.

Police went to a house in Charlemont Square East in Bessbrook shortly before 20:00 BST on Sunday, after an altercation involving several people.

The toddler was taken from the house apparently suffering serious head injuries and at one point, she was sick in a neighbour's garden.

Her condition has been described as critical by the Belfast Trust.

It is understood the man being questioned is not the child's father, but was in a relationship with the mother.

They had only met recently, apparently via the internet and neighbours said he had moved into the house three days ago.

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Media captionMr Feehan said the thoughts and prayers of everyone in the village were with the little girl at this time

SDLP councillor John Feehan, who lives in the village, said everyone was hoping and praying that the little girl would make a full recovery.

"Our thoughts and our prayers are certainly with the child at this time," he said.

"We hope that she makes a very full and speedy recovery.

"Everyone really knows everybody else in Bessbrook and it's something that we're not used to in this area and hopefully it will not occur again at any stage."

Police have appealed for anyone who was in Charlemont Square East, Bessbrook, at about 19:45 BST on Sunday and who witnessed "an altercation" or suspicious activity to contact them.