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Five men held after girl killed in hit-and-run

Helina Kotlarova and Zaneta Krokova
Helina Kotlarova and Zaneta Krokova

Police are questioning five men after two girls were mown down in a hit-and-run incident, leaving one dead and the other fighting for her life in hospital.

Cousins Helina Kotlarova, 12, and Zaneta Krokova, 11, were holding hands and crossing the road when they were hit by a black VW Golf in Oldham, Greater Manchester.

The girls had just come out of a shop near their homes when they were struck in Ashton Road at around 7.15pm on New Year's Eve.

Police said five men aged 23, 59, 48, 38 and 18 have been arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving and are in custody for questioning.

Officers are appealing for anyone who saw a dark coloured Peugeot 807 in the area at the time and the driver of a white van to come forward.

Helina's mother Sylva and father Robert raced to the scene but she was declared dead by medics as her distraught mother stroked her hair.

On New Year's Day, the family of seven sisters and one brother, who came to England from the Czech Republic eight years ago, sat in tears mourning Helina.

Her father sat with his head in his hands, his wife weeping, while other red-eyed members of the family sat in silence in the kitchen of their terraced home.

Helina's sister Sylva, 19, told how the family rushed to the scene 100 yards from their home seconds after the crash.

She said: "Her face was all bloody. She did not breathe. Mum was touching her hair."

The driver of the car did not stop and a police hunt for him was launched.

Miss Kotlarova said the girls were with a larger group of family and friends who had already crossed the road, one of the main routes in and out of Oldham town centre, and the larger group was waiting on the opposite pavement.

The two cousins then started to cross the road outside the shop.

Miss Kotlarova said: "But as they came to the other side of the road the car ran them over. They were holding hands."

Seconds later friends ran to Helina's home to alert the family.

Miss Kotlarova added: "We ran there. I went to her. Her face was all bloody. She did not breathe. Then the ambulance came."

She said Helina attended the Collective Spirit free school in Oldham and enjoyed dancing and music and wanted to become a singer.

She said the injured cousin was in a critical condition in hospital in Manchester.

She added: "I did speak to her family but they said she's still fighting for her life."

Sergeant Lee Westhead of Greater Manchester Police's Serious Collision Investigation Unit said: "These are tragic circumstances where a young girl has lost her life.

"Another girl is currently fighting for her life in hospital and specially trained officers are supporting the families involved.

"Officers are trying to establish exactly what happened and we have a dedicated team working to locate the person responsible.

"We are currently carrying out extensive door to door enquiries and have five people in custody but our investigation continues.

"If you saw a black golf or a dark Peugeot 807 in the area then I would urge you to contact us.

"We are also keen to speak to the driver of a white van who was driving on the road around the time of the collision."

Anyone with information should call police on 0161 856 4741, quoting incident number 1691 of 31/12/16, or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.