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CRIME

London mother charged with attempted murder in six-year-old daughter's stabbing

By Jennifer O'Brien, The London Free Press

A six-year-old girl who was stabbed multiple times in her home Thursday is expected to recover physically from her injuries, police said Friday.

"She does remain in hospital receiving medical attention," said Const. Ken Steeves. "She is expected to recover."

As medical staff worked to save the six-year-old girl and Londoners wondered how such an attack could happen for the second time in less than a year in this city, the little girl’s school community prayed for her recovery.

“She’s an absolutely adorable child, a sweetheart,” said Gabe Pizzuti, principal of St. Michaels Catholic elementary school, where the girl was a pupil in Grade 1.

“She is always engaged in play with her friends in the yard, she’s so happy and so caring.”

Emergency workers received a 911 call to a third floor apartment at 114 Arbour Glen Cres., just after 9 a.m. Thursday with a report that a child had been stabbed.

Officers in several cruisers raced to the scene as well as paramedics.

Moments later neighbours saw the injured girl’s mom being taken to a cruiser in handcuffs, her bathrobe covered in blood. Led by three officers, she appeared calm, the expression on her face flat, said building resident Laurie Paquette.

Paquette watched the rest of the scene unfold from an upper floor balcony and said she saw paramedics come out with a stretcher carrying the little girl.

“At first I thought the stretcher was empty, because she’s so little, I just saw the side of her face. It looked like she was sleeping,” Paquette said. “Oh my God. We are shaken up.”

For hours before the sirens, some third floor residents said they heard the woman yelling and carrying on all night, but that’s fairly typical coming from that apartment, said a tenant who lives down the hall, but would not identify herself.

Many in the 11-storey building keep to themselves, and the mom and daughter — who have lived there about two years and have a little dog named Bear — are no different, neighbours said.

But the little girl made friends with a boy on her floor and the mothers became friendly as well, said the boy’s mother, who spoke only on the condition of anonymity.

She said she came to know the girl’s mom as a “beautiful woman,” who was becoming more religious lately and often plays Christian music in the apartment.

On Wednesday night, the friend said the little girl’s mom came to her apartment to ask if the children could play. When the friend said it was too late, the girl’s mother became angry.

Then at 5 a.m. the girl’s mom knocked at the door of the friend’s apartment, the friend said. When the friend got up and answered the door, the woman was with her little girl, the friend said.

“She said she was sorry for what had happened and that she was up all night. She was crying and she said she saw God last night,” the woman said. “She said ‘I saw God.’

“She asked us to come over at 11 a.m. so the kids could play.”

That was the plan. But the next knock at the woman’s door came from the police, she said.

The horrifying incident was similar to another stabbing earlier this year. In May, a man was charged with attempted murder after his five-year-old daughter was stabbed in their Applegreen Grove backyard in southwest London. The child survived and the man’s case is going through the court system.

The latest attack was discussed on local talk radio shows and reported by media outlets across the province.

As he spoke from a phone in his office, Pizzuti said he was looking at a picture the little girl had given to him the other day — a portrait of herself drawing a picture.

“We just cherish her at this school and our thoughts and prayers are with her and her recovery.”

jennifer.obrien@sunmedia.ca

twitter.com/obrienatlfpress

From a note sent home to parents at St. Michael’s Catholic elementary:

“One of our Grade 1 students was seriously injured this morning and is recovering in hospital as a result of an incident that allegedly occurred at her home. Please note that the incident did not occur at the school.

The board has provided a crisis response team to the school and will provide appropriate assistance to the school community as needed. Please pray for the recovery of the student, as well as for her family members, classmates, teachers and staff.”