Dad's devastating tribute to toddler daughter who was 'beaten to death'

A devastated dad has spoken out about his two-year-old daughter who died after being fatally injured in a suspected assault.

Maya Louise Chappell had to be airlifted to a hospital on Wednesday afternoon after she was found hurt at a house in the village of Shotton Colliery in County Durham.

A man in his 20s was arrested at the scene, questioned on suspicion of assault with intent to cause serious harm and released under investigation.

The full details of what happened to Maya are not yet known but the little girl died on Friday, despite the best efforts of doctors and nurses.

In a heartbreaking tribute, Maya’s dad James wrote: ‘It breaks my heart to be writing this but sadly my beautiful brave little girl has gained her wings she was too good for this world and as a reward she’s going to play in the stars.

‘I love you so much Maya Louise Chappell, you are my life, my earth and my idol and I’ll always look up to you and love you with all my heart. RIP baby girl.

‘Anyone who would like to pay their respects via social media are more than welcome.’

A sea of teddies, toys and balloons has already grown outside the home where Maya was airlifted from.

One card says: ‘RIP May, fly high beautiful bay’ while another reads: ‘Sleep tight Princess.’

Some people have left notes for Maya despite not even knowing her.

One, signed Bev and Colin, says: ‘Rest in peace you beautiful girl. We did not know you, but you have left a hole in all our hearts. Fly high sweetheart.’

A fundraising page has been set-up to help raise money for Maya’s funeral, which has more than £5,000 in donations.

James, from the town of Consett, has asked neighbours to ‘make the town pink’ and wear her favourite colour on the day of Maya’s funeral.

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