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Disturbing Man, 40, stabs 4-yr-old, kills self

A man seriously injured a 4-year-old when he stabbed her before eventually killing himself.

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Stephen Coops, 40, attacked the child with a knife at his home yesterday - and neighbours watched in horror as a woman emerged from the house with the girl, screaming for help.

Coops was found dead at the semi-detached property near Par in Cornwall, and the girl was airlifted to Derriford Hospital in Plymouth, where she is now in a serious but stable condition.

Neighbour Patricia Swiggs, 72, who tried to give emergency treatment to girl at her house, said the woman ‘was outside shouting for help and the child was in her arms bleeding’.

She added: "I brought them in and laid the child on the floor. The ambulance crew on the phone instructed us to put her on her side and raise her feet above her chest level.

She kept slipping in and out of consciousness and eventually the ambulance came with police and she was then taken to Derriford Hospital by air ambulance.

The girl who was stabbed was just four years old. It’s terrible, devastating. You don’t expect something like that to happen on your doorstep. I hope the little girl is okay."

Another neighbour, who preferred to remain anonymous, said, "I always got along well with Steve. I guess he had some problems, but he was a nice person. I have no idea why he did this." 

Devon and Cornwall Police said they are not looking for anyone else in connection with the incident.

A force spokesman said:

"Emergency services were called to a property at 11.45am yesterday following a report of concern for the welfare of two people. 

On arrival officers located a 40-year-old man and a young child with serious injuries.

The girl was airlifted to Derriford Hospital in Plymouth with serious internal injuries. She remains in hospital in a serious but stable condition.

The man was treated at the scene by ambulance crews but was pronounced deceased a short time later.

The next of kin have been informed. Police are conducting an investigation into the circumstances but are not looking for anyone else in connection with the incident."

In 2011 Coops deliberately crashed his car at 60mph in Pembrokeshire in an attempt to kill himself. But after failing, he admitted dangerous driving and was detained under the Mental Health Act.

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