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Last Updated: Wednesday, 22 August 2007, 16:03 GMT 17:03 UK
Air pellet lodged in girl's brain
Somma Chapman
A bullet became lodged in the centre of Somma's brain
A three-year-old girl who has an airgun pellet lodged in her brain was shot by her six-year-old sister.

Police said Somma Chapman was in an upstairs bedroom watching a DVD when the accident happened on Monday evening at the Normacot Hotel, Stoke-on-Trent.

Doctors said although the pellet was lodged in the centre of Somma's brain they hoped not to have to operate.

Her condition on Wednesday afternoon was said to be stable. Police are working to find the airgun's owner.

At around 2110 BST on Monday, Somma's older sister ran into the pub's car area and told her mother what had happened.

Somma was then taken by ambulance to the University Hospital of North Staffordshire.

Police were called to investigate the accident after a doctor Somma saw on Tuesday morning identified the airgun pellet stuck in her head.

She was later transferred to a specialist unit at the Queen's Medical Centre in Nottingham.

Normacot Hotel
The Normacot Hotel was sealed off while police investigate

On Tuesday specially-trained officers spoke to Somma's sister about the incident and said they were still trying to establish how the airgun was fired.

Detectives said they were also trying to establish who owned the gun and how it fell into the girls' hands.

Det Insp Wayne Jones said the incident was a "tragic accident" and they were not looking for anyone else in connection with it.

Det Insp Jones said: "This is a very tragic incident for those involved and for the officers investigating it, but what it does highlight is the danger that these weapons pose to people. "Far too many people see air weapons as little more than toys, and I urge anyone who has any sort of air weapon to make sure it is kept secure and away of any children and this is particularly relevant during these school holidays."

Doctors at the hospital said she had had a comfortable night.

Officers are not looking for anyone else in connection with the incident which happened at the Normacot Hotel, Stoke-on-Trent, on Monday evening.

Tragic accident

Police said the girl was in a bedroom in a private area of the pub when the incident took place.

They have spoken to another child who was in the bedroom with the girl at the time and a weapon has been recovered.

Det Insp Wayne Jones said it appeared to be a tragic accident.

"We are still working to establish the circumstances which lead to the discharge of the weapon and we are working to support the family at this distressing time," he said.

Neighbours spoke of their shock about the incident

Pub airgun shooting girl 'stable'
22 Aug 07 |  Staffordshire
Airgun shooting 'tragic accident'
21 Aug 07 |  Staffordshire

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