A community today told of its shock and devastation after police launched a murder probe following the death of two-year-old Kacey Hambleton.
The toddler died at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool at 1pm on Saturday.
She was taken there by air ambulance after initially being taken to Blackpool Victoria Hospital on Thursday morning, suffering what have been described as a number of serious injuries.
Police were called by paramedics to an address at Granby Avenue, Layton, at around 10.20am on Thursday, where little Kacey was found to be “unresponsive”.
Connor Gibson, 23, of Melrose Avenue, Blackpool, has been charged with murder and will make his first appearance at Blackpool Magistrates Court today.
He is believed to be the partner of the girl’s 23-year-old mother who herself has been arrested on suspicion of murder. She has been bailed until Tuesday, July 8.
Today neighbours living close to the scene have described their devastation at the death of the toddler in the quiet Layton street.
Residents opposite the home spotted the ambulance and police arrive on the scene on Thursday, but said they could not have imagined the reason officers were there.
Charles Pitt, 77, of Granby Avenue, said: “This is a quiet road and these things don’t happen. It’s a huge shock and I find it hard to believe it.
“It doesn’t make much sense. Ann Holland, 62, from Annesley Avenue, Layton, added: “It has come as a shock to me because you never think things like this will happen.
“A tot dying is tragic because it’s bad enough when it’s an adult.
“Whether it’s a child or an elderly person it’s worse than normal and a horrible thing to happen to anyone.
Margaret Newton, of nearby Sherwood Avenue, said: “I have grandchildren that age and it’s horrible to think about it. Another neighbour, who asked not to be named, said: “When I hear about this it was not nice. It’s digusting to think she’s been hurt.”
Police were originally called by the paramedics to attend an address on Granby Avenue, after ambulance crews had earlier been called there on Thursday morning.
The toddler was reported to have been found “unresponsive.”
No one from Lancashire Police has confirmed the nature of the child’s injuries or who called emergency services on Thursday.
The youngster was taken by ambulance to Blackpool Victoria Hospital but later transferred by air ambulance to Alder Hey in what was described as a critical condition.
Police said Kacey’s sister, aged one, was also taken to Blackpool Victoria Hospital but she was not seriously injured.
Yesterday floral tributes and teddies with touching messages had started to gather at the home in Granby Avenue where Kacey lived.
Officers were not available last night to confirm where the 23-year-old woman has been bailed to, or whether Kacey’s younger sister has been released from hospital.
Tributes from family, friends and well-wishers have today poured in to tragic toddler Kacey Hambleton.
Flowers, teddy bears and toys were left at the scene last night and social media websites were flooded with messages of sympathy for the two-year-old.
One tribute left at the home said: “Cannot believe what has happened.
“Rest in Peace beautiful Kacey.”
Another message read: “RIP beautiful girl.
“God has gained an angel.
A tribute from a family member which was left tied to a pink teddy at the gates of the Granby Avenue home said: “Heaven’s brightest star.
“RIP little angel.
“Forever in my thoughts. Lots of love forever and always, Auntie Jodie.”
Mourners also took to Facebook to post tributes to the two-year-old.
Stacey Wayne Whitfield said: “Goodbye little princess, you’re safe now with the angels. Sleep tight.”
Susan Lynch added: “Heaven needed a new angel, Rest in Peace little one.”
Claire McGee said: “Absolutely breaks my heart. RIP little princess.”
Another poster added: “RIP little one. Heaven needed another angel too soon.”
And another said: “Rip princess, your dad was and still is proud if you and your little sister.”