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belfast tragedy Toddler stabbed during tragic Belfast incident in which baby died expected to recover

Two-year-old Kayla O'Keefe was left fighting for her life at the Royal Victoria Hospital

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The scene in Brompton Park, Belfast, where a baby died and another young child was critically injured following a stabbing incident.

The scene in Brompton Park, Belfast, where a baby died and another young child was critically injured following a stabbing incident.

The scene in Brompton Park, Belfast, where a baby died and another young child was critically injured following a stabbing incident.

A toddler who was rushed to hospital after suffering stab wounds during an incident at her Belfast home last Tuesday is expected to make a full recovery.

Kayla O’Keeffe (2) had been fighting for her life in a critical condition at the Royal Victoria Hospital.

Her baby brother Liam, eight weeks, died following the tragedy at a house on Brompton Park in the Ardoyne area of the city.

However, Kayla’s condition is now described by doctors as “stable” and she is expected to pull through from the shocking incident that left the north Belfast community numb.

The child is being looked after at her bedside by her father Liam, who travelled back from England after receiving the devastating news.

The children’s mother Raluca Tagani, who suffered wounds to her throat, was also taken to hospital on Tuesday but released on Thursday and taken into police custody.

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Baby Liam O’Keefe

Baby Liam O’Keefe

Baby Liam O’Keefe

The 29-year-old, originally from Romania, appeared at Belfast Magistrates Court on Friday where she was charged with the murder of baby Liam.

She was also charged with attempted murder and was remanded in custody.

Five days after the tragic incident, the wider Ardoyne community is still reeling in the aftermath.

One neighbour who asked not to be identified told the Sunday World: “It’s great news that little Kayla is doing so well because she is a lovely wee girl.

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Maria Goodall, at the scene in Brompton Park, Belfast, where a baby died and another young child was critically injured following a stabbing incident.

Maria Goodall, at the scene in Brompton Park, Belfast, where a baby died and another young child was critically injured following a stabbing incident.

Maria Goodall, at the scene in Brompton Park, Belfast, where a baby died and another young child was critically injured following a stabbing incident.

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“She was always blowing kisses at the neighbours and would be shouting out to say hello. She’s a confident wee thing and everyone is praying she gets through this somehow.

“But it was the most harrowing thing I’ve ever witnessed in this area. I’ve been here throughout the Troubles.

“I’ve seen shootings and bombs, but nothing was as harrowing as when the emergency services carried out the lifeless body of that wee baby.

“I wouldn’t wish that on anyone. That image will haunt people round here for a long time.”

Meanwhile neighbours in Brompton Park have revealed how quick-acting cops went above and beyond to save little Kayla’s life.

Maria Goodall told the Sunday World she was impressed at how professional the police attending the scene were.

“The police were brilliant on Tuesday night,” said the 31-year-old. “One officer in particular, I’m sure saved the life of the little girl.

“The ambulance couldn’t get down the estate because of all the other cars blocking the street. The police had already carried her out to one police car and then transferred her to another before then running to an ambulance when it arrived which took her to hospital.

“This police officer, he seemed quite a young cop, he ran the length of the street as if his own life depended on it to get her to the ambulance.

“They were very professional and people in the area were very thankful for how they handled it. I’m sure their actions helped save her life.”

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Raluca Ioana Tagani (29)

Raluca Ioana Tagani (29)

Raluca Ioana Tagani (29)

Police were called to the house at around 8pm on Tuesday, and when they arrived they found the baby and the toddler suffering from stab wounds.

Liam was pronounced dead at the scene and Kayla was taken to hospital by ambulance.

Another neighbour, speaking to us on Friday at the scene, said: “The police went above and beyond their duties on Tuesday night.

“There’s a lot of sympathy for the police in the area because you can only imagine the terrible things they must have seen but they dealt with it so well.”

Speaking to the Sunday World yesterday, Ardoyne priest Fr Gary Donegan said: “It is still beyond belief, as you know the place Ardoyne is, the people have endured so much through the years but this is different.

“It has transcended from what they know. It is like something out of a movie, something you read about and it will take time to come to terms with and to heal.

“Physical scars can heal but it will take so much more for what happened on Tuesday night to be understood or forgotten.”

The well-known priest has asked for the community as well as little Liam’s family to be respected.

“The family and the community are still reeling, they are in shock. They should be left alone, people should not be putting comments on social media or images of what happened that day, I ask for respect.

“This is a tragedy and our role is to remember little Liam, his family and everyone who has been affected. What I am sure of is the Ardoyne spirit, as I call it, it will help us all through,” Fr Gary said.

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Liam O'Keefe (Father of Baby Liam O’Keefe) during a Vigil for the  baby boy who was murdered at a house in north Belfast on Tuesday 
Pic Pacemaker

Liam O'Keefe (Father of Baby Liam O’Keefe) during a Vigil for the baby boy who was murdered at a house in north Belfast on Tuesday Pic Pacemaker

Liam O'Keefe (Father of Baby Liam O’Keefe) during a Vigil for the baby boy who was murdered at a house in north Belfast on Tuesday Pic Pacemaker

On Thursday heartbroken father Liam spoke at a vigil held by Ardoyne residents.

“Holding this vigil means the world to me. To all the neighbours and the full community for all their help and support I really appreciate it all,” he said.

“I am truly heartbroken but it gives me strength to know you giving so much love and support. Thank you from the bottom of my heart,” he said while being supported by relatives.

Ms Tagani appeared at Belfast Magistrates Court charged with the murder of her son last Tuesday evening.

She herself required medical treatment at hospital before being questioned by police at a nearby police station.

She is also charged with the attempted murder of Kayla O’Keefe. The charges were put to the 29-year-old through a Romanian interpreter.

She spoke only to confirm that she understood the charges against her.

A detective sergeant told the court he could connect her to the charges.

No application for bail was made.

Ms Tagani, of no fixed abode, has been remanded in custody to appear in court again by video link on August 27.

Funeral arrangements for baby Liam have yet to be finalised.

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