Page last updated at 10:47 GMT, Monday, 2 July 2007 11:47 UK

Murdered Casey's home abandoned

A neighbour looks at flowers outside the Gipton house
Flowers and messages were piled outside the Gipton house

The house on the Leeds estate where two-year-old Casey Leigh Mullen lived has stood empty since the toddler was murdered there nearly four months ago.

Friends and neighbours who live in Oak Tree Crescent, Gipton, said the Mullen family had returned only a handful of times to collect their belongings.

Many are still struggling to come to terms with the little girl's death.

Claire Beaumont, 14, who often looked after Casey, described her as a "beautiful little girl".

Casey lived at the house with her mother Samantha Canham, 21, father David Mullen, 20, and her brother, aged three.

'Crying constantly'

Claire Beaumont, who had turned 14 just days before the murder, said she had been unable to stay at her home, opposite the Mullens', in the days and weeks following the murder.

She said: "I was just crying constantly. The pain wouldn't go away. I knew her mum would never be able to bring her over and I would never be able to look after her again.

"She was always happy, just a normal child, she was never sad and was smiling all the time.

"When it happened I couldn't bear living in the same street so I came to my mum's.

"What really hurt was when all the flowers and things like that started piling up outside the house, the toys and teddies. I was getting up in the morning and seeing them outside.

"I couldn't believe her life could have been taken out just like that."

Claire's father Terry Beaumont was at home on the night of the murder and was among the neighbours who heard a commotion at the house and went to see what was happening.

A teddy bear with a message left outside the house
A teddy bear with a message to a "little angel" left outside the house

Mr Beaumont, 47, had been visited earlier in the evening by David Mullen, who had asked to use his phone. Later he heard shouting outside.

He said: "Next thing Sammy's [Casey's mother] brother came over saying 'she's not breathing'."

"Then an ambulance came. He sat down on the wall, he was saying 'it's the baby, it's the baby'. Then the police came over.

"The little girl was always coming over to see my daughter. Any time we went out anywhere she would say 'me come' and we would take her.

"She was great, really lovely."

"My daughter couldn't believe it when she found out what had happened, she is still suffering now.

"She spends more time over at her mum's than she does here because she can still see the little girl playing in the garden."

Money raised

Terry's brother Keith Beaumont and Keith's wife Margaret, have lived in the street for nearly 20 years, also heard shouting on the night of 11 February.

Keith Beaumont, 58, said: "We heard a commotion and went to the side of the gate . . . I saw one of the lads bang his head on the window and banging on the door, there was a bit of a kerfuffle and shouting.

"Then an ambulance came and people were coming in and out of the house. It seemed a long time and then they came out with little Casey over their arms. She looked dead.

"When they brought the baby out Sammy collapsed on top of the steps. They took her in the ambulance to the hospital."

The couple helped to organise a collection for the family following the tragedy, which raised just under 1,000.

Mr Beaumont added: "They were just ordinary neighbours. Casey used to stand at the window and say hello.

"We had people coming from the other side of Leeds to make donations. Council workers who were working in the area got together and did a collection.

"Everyone pulled together."

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