Derry police stoned as they probe accident involving girl aged four
A four-year-old girl knocked down by a car near her Londonderry home on Sunday was in a serious but stable condition in Belfast's Royal Victoria Hospital yesterday.
Police who attended the scene in the Creggan came under a hail of bricks and stones from around a dozen youths while they were investigating the incident.
The girl, who was struck by a car shortly after 1pm at Magowan Park, was taken to Altnagelvin Hospital and later transferred to Belfast where her parents were yesterday at her bedside.
No officers were injured in the attack, but local residents and political representatives have voiced anger and disgust at the youths who perpetrated it.
One woman, who went out to remonstrate with the youths, said she was verbally abused.
She explained: "I saw the police jeeps being stoned and it made me so cross I went out to tell the young boys to clear off because the police were only trying to find out about the wee girl that had been knocked down, but all I got was a mouthful of abuse from them.
"It was an absolute disgrace - there are young boys running around this place who live by nobody's rules but their own and I don't know what could be done with them."
Chief Inspector Alan Hutton said that while no-one was apprehended on Sunday in relation to the stone-throwing incident, some of those suspected of being involved may still face arrest later.
The officer said: "As we were leaving the scene we came under attack from a number of youths who damaged one of the vehicles.
"This sort of behaviour isn't acceptable and is damaging our community as a whole.
"Our primary concern was the investigation of the collision.
"There is a young four-year-old in the Royal Victoria Hospital undergoing surgery and our thoughts are with her family.
"We haven't made any arrests because we had to deal with what was most important at the time, but we will be following up, and people involved may well get a knock on their door."
Sinn Fein councillor Kevin Campbell described the attack on the police as "totally unacceptable".
He said: "This is totally unacceptable, even at the height of the Troubles the police were able to investigate incidents like this unhindered so this is an utter disgrace.
"Parents need to step up to the mark and make sure they know their child isn't involved in this kind of behaviour."