The toddler daughter of a woman convicted of making two children fight each other was critically ill after being run over by a car on her driveway.
Two-year-old Katie Olver suffered life-threatening injuries after she was crushed under a Ford Mondeo in front of her mother Serenza Olver, 31.
Police who attended the scene were told the tot had somehow turned on the car’s ignition and she had fallen under the front wheel as it moved backwards.
But officers say they are keeping an ”open mind” about the incident which happened in a quiet cul-de-sac in Plymouth, Devon, on Friday afternoon.
In 2007 Serenza and sisters Zara and Danielle and their mother Carole were convicted of child cruelty after goading two toddlers to fight each other.
The four women, of Plymouth, filmed the fight on a video camera and were heard calling them names such as ‘wimp’ and faggot’.
Yesterday Zara and Danielle posted message of support to their sister on the internet.
Zara wrote: ”thanku everyone 4 all ur nice comments. people who dnt knw wot happened shouldn’t speculate bout it if u aven’t got anything nice to say bout this den do 1.
”i’m that poor little girls aunty, it’s a terrible accident, her mum is a great mum she is doin her best for her lil girl u ave people round assumin her mum didn’t do anythin she did all she cud. thanku to da people that were der for her wen it happened we r all very gratefull to u.
”We all wish it never happened but it did nw her mum is in hospital wit her lil girl prayin that everythin will b fine. i really wana say is to my sister we r all thinkin of u at this time n to my lil neice get better really soon baby everyone is missin u so muc. once again thanku everyone who helped xx”
Danielle also denied the mother had been responsible for the accident.
She wrote: ”hope you get better soon sweetie love me and all the family thanks to every1 for the nice messages, this is a complete freak accident and no one is to blame.also many many thanks to the person who helped at the time and to all the paramedics, hospital staff and police many thanks xx”
Katie was hurt at 4.45pm on Friday after the driver of the Ford Mondeo called at Serenza’s house.
Police and paramedics who attended the scene were told that Katie had climbed into the car and started the engine as her mother chatted to her friend.
She managed to turn the key in the ignition and as the car moved backward on the driveway she fell out the door and onto the ground.
The youngster was hit by the driver-side wheel and suffered ”life-threatening” head injuries.
Katie was initially taken to Derriford Hospital in Plymouth but has since been transferred to Frenchay Hospital in Bristol.
Local resident Kim Dunridge was first on the scene with her husband Barry, an ex-Army medic, who gave the tot first aid.
Kim, 47, said: ”I heard a scream and then I ran over and shouted for someone to call an ambulance.
”Barry got her in the right position and gave her mouth to mouth while telling another woman how to give her chest compressions.
”She was unconscious and he brought her around, the police called him a hero. He was covered in blood. He is just so cut up.”
Barry added: ”It was the most awful thing you can possible imagine. She was trapped under the full weight of the car.
”I did what I could to help but we were both covered in blood. I haven’t slept since it happened. It was very traumatic.
”She has two little brothers who are really cut up. They whole family are devastated and we just hope she pulls through.”
On Saturday Sergeant Gary Williamson, of Plymouth police, said: ”The driver of the Mondeo called at the house to pick up a child. Mum was stood chatting with the owner of the car.
”At some stage of the vehicle being on the drive the two-year-old clambered into the driving seat and started the engine. It shot back and she fell under the front driver side wheel.”
But a spokesman for Devon and Cornwall police said: ”Enquiries are continuing and we are keeping an open mind. The girl remains in a serious but stable condition.”
In April 2007 mother-of-three Serenza and sisters Zara Care, 24, Danielle Olver, 22, Carole Olver, 52, narrowly avoided a jail term after they were found guilty of making Zara’s two children fight each other.
They were arrested after the toddlers’ natural father borrowed a video camera and was confronted by the shocking images.
He found a sickening seven-minute video in which a two-year-old boy was made to attack his three-year-old sister as his own family call him a ”wimp” and a ”bloody faggot”.
Zara and their female relatives were all heard laughing as the boy and girl screamed in pain.
The children – wearing nappies – were told to slap and punch each other using their hands and a hair brush.
Even when the children backed away from each other the woman were heard calling them ‘wimps’ and ‘faggots’ and told to ”boot” each other.
The four women all pleaded guilty at Plymouth Crown Court to two charges of inciting the ill treatment of children
They were given a 12 month prison sentence suspended for two years and ordered to do 100 hours community work.
Zara also pleaded guilty to two charges of causing or procuring the children to be assaulted, ill treated, neglected, abandoned, or exposed in a manner likely to cause unnecessary suffering or injury to health.
A judge branded them ”cruel and callous” and the two children were taken away from Zara and placed in the custody of their father.
Serenza also has two boys but they were not involved in the video.