Girl, 2, dies after suffering critical injuries as man arrested at scene

A “beautiful” two-year-old girl died after being critically injured and needed to be airlifted to hospital.

James Chappell, the devastated father of Maya Louise, described his daughter as his “life, earth and idol” and someone he loves with “all my heart”.

He added that she was his “beautiful little angel” and said the tragedy occurred under “the most horrific circumstances”.

The incident happened in Shotton Colliery in County Durham on the afternoon of Wednesday, September 28.

The little girl was taken to a hospital in Newcastle but she sadly could not be saved and died two days later on the Friday.

A man in his 20s was arrested at the scene on suspicion of assault with intent to cause serious harm.

James paid tribute to his daughter on his Facebook page and wrote: “It breaks my heart to be writing this but sadly my beautiful brave little girl has gained her wings.

“She was to good for this world and as a reward she’s going to play in the stars.

“I love you so much maya Louise chappell you are my life my earth and my idol and I’ll always look upto you and love you with all my heart r.i.p baby girl….”

JustGiving and GoFundMe pages have since been set up to help pay for her funeral – more than £3,600 has been raised already.

The posts on both pages read: “As you may already know our beautiful Maya Louise Chappell passed away on Friday 30th September under the most horrific circumstances.

“No person never mind a 2 year old child should have to go through. It came as a huge shock to the family.

“The family would love to be able to give Maya the send off to heaven that such a special little girl like her deserves.

“We would be very grateful for any contribution big or small towards her funeral costs. We want to make her day as amazing as she was.”

The family added that they have taken “some comfort” in seeing how many lives Maya touched and that she will be “loved forever”.

A date has yet to be set for the funeral but James asked mourners to dress up in his daughter’s favourite colour pink.

He added: “Anyone who would like to take part and show there support is more than welcome.

“Thank you so much for all the love and preys you have all shown my beautiful little angel so far.

Detective Chief Inspector, Christopher Barker, earlier said: “We appreciate that friends, family and neighbours are deeply concerned by this incident, but we ask that the community refrains from speculation over the circumstances or naming of those involved online.”

A Durham Police spokesman said: “We can confirm a 2-year-old girl has sadly died following the incident on Wednesday.”

Police are continuing their investigation.