A grandfather described the terrifying moment his five-year-old granddaughter was injured by a driver who failed to stop in a supermarket car park.
He was giving evidence in the trial of Carlos Vinodchandra Racitalal who is accused of four counts of attempted murder, which include the “calculated and deliberate” slashing of a 10-year-old boy’s neck, the stabbing of a mother with two children and the knifing of an elderly man, in random street attacks in the Belgrave area of the city – as well as deliberately trying to run over and kill the little girl.
Leicester Crown Court was told the five-year-old girl was holding her granddad’s hand as they walked towards the Asda superstore, in Exploration Drive, off Abbey Lane, Leicester, on the morning of Thursday January 2.
Speaking in the witness box, the granddad said the child was struck from a car from behind.
He said: “The first thing that happened was the sound of the collision … the sound of a car hitting something.
“She was ripped out of my hand and went flying through the air.”
GRANDPA FEARED CHILD WAS DEAD
He said the youngster was left laying on the ground, not moving and face down. He added: “My first thought was that she was dead, I couldn’t really imagine her not being.
“I turned her over, expecting, in my head, to be picking up …”
The prosecutor, Christopher Donnellan QC, intervened mid-sentence, saying: “We understand.”
After a pause, the granddad said: “I remember thinking I’d have to ring my son and explain to him.
“Her face was covered in blood and her eyes were closed.
“Then she opened her eyes and started to cry with the pain and shock of what had happened.”
He said that when the collision happened: “Out of the corner of my eye I saw a black car go past.
“I thought the guy who has hit my granddaughter is going to stop, but he turned around the end of the row of cars and accelerated away.”
He described the driver’s speed as “too fast” for the car park area.
Shoppers rushed to help, before paramedics arrived and the little girl was treated for facial injuries in hospital.
Under cross-examination, the granddad said he did not hear the car approaching from behind, or an engine revving and said that no car horn was used by the driver.
An employee at Asda, Joshua Penny, described to the jury how he ran after the car after hearing a “loud bang” and tried to stop it leaving the car park exit, but the driver did not respond and drove away. Mr Penny noted the registration number.
A witness, Holly Hookway, in a statement read out, said: “I heard a very loud bang … it was so loud.
“I heard a male screaming, it was shocking as if he was in so much pain and he immediately broke down in heartbreaking sobs and I thought something awful must have happened.”
She phoned for an ambulance after seeing a man – she now knows was the child’s grandfather – holding the little girl who was crying, with blood covering her face, and saying “I want my daddy.”
She added: “People were saying ‘He’s diven off’ and others shouted ‘stop that car.’ “
A shopper at the scene, Hayley Siddons, told the jury: “I heard a loud bang and thought it was a car crash.
“I saw a black car going faster than it should be in the car park.”
She described “lots of screaming and shouting” and the little girl’s granddad “nestling her on his knee,” before Ms Siddons assisted with First Aid.
Racitalal, 33, formerly of Finsbury Road, Belgrave, denies attempting to murder the little girl.
He also denies attempting to murder a 10-year-old boy, in Belper Street, a mother in her 30’s in Doncaster Road, and a man in his 70’s on Dean Road, as well as three counts of possessing a knife in a public place, between January 14 and 18.
The trial continues.