The grieving parents of a Zimbabwean girl who died at the weekend after being struck by a vehicle in Newry today described her as a “lovely, happy girl”.
Tatyana Jinga, who was two years and 10 months old, died in hospital on Saturday evening after she was hit by a van in the Hill Street area of the city.
The family had been attending a cultural event in the area celebrating African food and music.
The toddler lived in Belfast with her parents.
A friend of the family, who was involved in the event, said the girl had enjoyed the music and was “dancing throughout the day”.
In an emotional tribute, her mother Tariro said she will miss Tatyana, who was her first born child.
“We had a good day and we were coming back home when she had the accident — run over by a car,” she said.
“All I want to say is, I’ll miss you. She was my first born, I will always love you.
“All I want now is for her to rest in peace.”
Speaking to the BBC, Tatyana’s father Thomas said: “She was a lovely girl, always happy.
“A lot of my friends and relatives are here to grieve with me and grieve with the family.”
Her aunt described her as “very sweet and independent”.
“I think I am still shocked, I am thinking that I will wake up,” she said.
“She was an angel and I know she is going to heaven.”
The accident is not being treated as a hit-and-run and the PSNI re-issued an appeal for witnesses.
Local politicians also expressed sympathy to Tatyana’s family. Several churches in Newry said prayers for the family during their services yesterday.
Newry and Armagh Ulster Unionist MLA Danny Kennedy described the death as a “great tragedy” and said his thoughts were with her family.
He said: “Local people have been left shocked and very distressed that a child so young lost her life in such sad circumstances at the weekend.
“This is a great tragedy for everyone involved and will be deeply traumatic for her family. Hill Street would have been busy at 6pm on Saturday with last-minute shoppers and traders closing down their business for the day.”