Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 18 September 2014

Hit-and-run girl 'a little hero'

Rayhan Saleem was injured along with his sister Sabah in Leeds

A 10-year-old girl who is fighting for her life following a hit-and-run incident has been described as "a little hero" by her family as police question three men about the collision.

Sabah Saleem and her two-year-old brother, Rayhan, were knocked down by a car in Brudenell Road, Hyde Park, Leeds, on Saturday.

Relatives have said Sabah was the most severely injured, probably because she was protecting her younger brother from the impact.

West Yorkshire Police said they have arrested a 36-year-old man on suspicion of dangerous driving, failing to stop at the scene of an accident and failing to report an accident; a 39-year-old man on suspicion of dangerous driving; A 26-year-old man arrested on suspicion of assisting an offender was later released on bail pending further inquiries. All are from Leeds.

At the scene on Tuesday, the children's aunt, Saima Rafique, said she had just returned from the hospital where her niece remains in a critical condition. But she said Rayhan is much better and walking around on the ward.

Mrs Rafique said: "Most likely what happened is that Sabah tried protecting her brother and she took the brunt of the accident. She's just a little hero, isn't she? It just shows you how a big sister would react with a younger brother."

Rayhan and Sabah were hit at around 5.20pm on Saturday after buying onions for the family's Eid celebrations. A cousin, who was with the youngsters, escaped injury. The children underwent surgery at Leeds General Infirmary.

Police released an image of the silver or grey mark 4 Vauxhall Astra believed to have been involved in the incident. Detectives also said they believed a woman seen in the street at the time may have witnessed what happened and urged her to contact them.

Mrs Rafique, who is a nurse, said the children's parents, Tazeem Noor and Mohamed Saleem, remain at their daughter's bedside.

She said the police investigation appeared to be very thorough and she thanked officers for their efforts. She also thanked the public for the support the family has received: "We all appreciate this so much - the public, everyone's input towards this. We can't thank you all enough. It's just been so touching and we appreciate this so much."

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