The seven-year-old girl who died after being found seriously injured on a York playing field was today named by police as Katie Rough.
North Yorkshire Police said the investigation into her death was ongoing and that a 15-year-old girl arrested in connection with the incident remains in police custody.
A spokeswoman said: “Katie’s family are devastated by this tragic event and have asked for their privacy to be respected at this extremely distressing time.”
Police are appealing for witnesses who were in the area of Morrell Court, Belhouse Way, Osprey Close and Alness Drive between 3pm and 5pm on Monday and may have seen two girls, one aged 15 and the other seven, to get in touch.
The mother of the girl was seen crying on her knees in the street after she arrived at the scene, according to witnesses.
A 15-year-old girl was arrested after police were called to an address in Woodthorpe, York, and found the victim down a nearby track with life-threatening injuries.
The girl was taken to hospital but died a short time later, North Yorkshire Police said.
A woman living in the house by the track said a woman arrived in the street by car on Monday afternoon.
She described how she saw the mother on her knees crying in the road.
She added: “I arrived in my car behind the mother.
“I wasn’t quite sure what was going on, it wasn’t until I spoke to the police that I found out.
“The mother was on her knees in the middle of the road, crying and saying things.
“It was quite distressing.”
The woman, who did not want to be named, said the family did not live in the street of six red-brick detached houses.
She said: “We’ve all been here a long time, there’s no children in this street.”
The woman said children often played on the field in the summer.
Alness Drive is a quiet street lined with red-brick detached homes, lying to the south east of the city centre.
On Tuesday morning, the grass track leading from the quiet cul-de-sac to a playing field was cordoned off.
A white tent could be seen on the playing field beyond the cordon.
A single police van was parked on the driveway of a house neighbouring the track to the field.
A force spokesman said: “Police were called shortly after 4.30pm on Monday 9 January to an address in Alness Drive in York.
“Officers attended and, upon visiting a scene nearby, they found a seven-year-old girl with life-threatening injuries.
“An ambulance attended and the girl was taken to York District Hospital, where she sadly died a short time later.
“A 15-year-old girl has been arrested in connection with the incident. She remains in police custody for questioning.
“Officers remain at the scene while the investigation to establish the full circumstances surrounding the death of the girl continues.”
The York City and East neighbourhood policing team tweeted: “Difficult late shift for all York staff with tragic death of a 7 year old. Thoughts go out to family members.”
Anyone with information that could assist the investigation should call North Yorkshire Police on 101, select option 1, speak to the Force Control Room and ask to be put through to the Cleveland & North Yorkshire Major Investigation Team. Use reference number 12170004685 when passing on any information.
This morning, a man and a woman, believed to be the young girl’s grandparents, arrived at the scene and left a bunch of flowers by the cordon.
The card read: “Night, night my darling princess Katie, love Nana and Grandad.”
A family - some of whom were in tears - also took flowers and removed a black Peugeot 206 car, which had been parked near the entrance to the field.
Later, Detective Chief Inspector Dave Ellis read a police statement at Fulford Road police station.
He said the 15-year-old remained in police custody and officers were carrying out house-to-house inquiries.
Mr Ellis said: “Specially trained officers are supporting the victim’s family at this extremely difficult time for them.
“Clearly the circumstances require the investigation to be conducted in a particularly sensitive manner.”
Neighbour Rob McCartney said he was alerted to a “distraught” woman turning up on his street shouting: “Help. Call an ambulance” at around 4.50pm on Monday.
Mr McCartney, 50, lives in a detached property next to an access point to leisure land located at the back of his house at the end of a cul-de-sac.
There are trees at the bottom of the grassy track which opens up to a playing field.
As Mr McCartney came out, he had looked down the track to see a girl lying by the trees.
He said: “It was dark so I couldn’t see much but I could see the body of a young girl laid out.
“I asked if there was anything I could do.
“I came back to the house to call an ambulance but I realised one had already been called.
“The police had already arrived at the scene and were blocking the street.
“Other neighbours were coming out and we were all seeing what we could do.
“The paramedics turned up and were working in the girl so I can only assume she was still alive at that point.
“The mum was coming backwards and forwards, she was so distraught.
“We asked her what had happened and she said: ‘I think she’s killed her.’
“The dad arrived on the scene at that point and he and the mum were comforting each other.”
He told how the girl had been taken away by paramedics on a stretcher.
He said: “I went to bed thinking she would be okay, she was taken away on a stretcher with an oxygen mask on.
“But of course we woke up to this today”.
Nobody had seen anything of the 15-year-old girl, he said.
Two police vans were parked outside a house believed to belong to the seven-year-old girl’s family.
An officer was seen entering and leaving the property carrying equipment.
A family, who left a nearby house carrying flowers, said they did not want to talk but said they were close friends.
Christina Mercer, who lives next door, said the young girl was called Katie and described her as “lovely, really sweet”.
She said she had lived next door for around six months and said they were a “lovely family”.
Ms Mercer, 24, said: “She was usually playing at the front in the garden or round the back of the house playing with some friends.
“She was lovely, really sweet, smiling, laughing, playing with her friends.
“She was really friendly, running around.”
She said the family were “really quiet” and “great neighbours”.
Ms Mercer said the police arrived at the house at around 5pm on Monday.
She added that the girl’s death was “really shocking”.