Page last updated at 02:03 GMT, Tuesday, 26 August 2008 03:03 UK

Toddler shot with airgun critical

Rashid Ullah
Rashid Ullah is being treated at Birmingham Children's Hospital

An 18-month-old boy who was shot in the head with an airgun remains in a critical condition in hospital.

Rashid Ullah was accidentally fired on by his five-year-old sister in the garden of their home in the Washwood Heath area of Birmingham.

Their grandfather said the girl used the airgun after their father, who was using it for target practice, left it loaded and turned his back.

West Midlands Police described the incident as a "tragic accident".

'Serious head injury'

Rashid was taken to Birmingham Children's Hospital where he remains in a critical but stable condition.

The grandfather said: "Everybody's in shock. There are no words to describe it, really. The whole road loves them."

Police stressed that they were not seeking anyone else in connection with the incident, which happened at about 1900 BST on Sunday.

"While we are still trying to establish precisely what happened, this does appear to be a tragic accident involving young children," said DI Simon Vowles.

An ambulance, two rapid response vehicles and a doctor were sent to the home.

They will be going through absolute hell
Liam Byrne MP

The ambulance spokeswoman said: "When crews arrived they found an 18-month-old boy who had suffered a very serious head injury.

"They were told that it had been caused by an airgun."

A spokesman for the hospital confirmed it was still treating the boy but was "not at liberty to confirm anything else".

The spokesman said: "I know this is a subject of police interest already and we will know more as time goes on."

Liam Byrne MP, whose Hodge Hill constituency includes Washwood Heath, said: "No matter the circumstances, everyone's prayers and thoughts should be with little Rashid and his family. They will be going through absolute hell.

"Thankfully, Birmingham Children's Hospital is amongst the best of its kind in the world."

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