THE injuries suffered by a 12-year-old girl with Down’s syndrome as she played in a Bolton park were “entirely accidental”, a police investigation has revealed.

Police had originally issued a statement saying she had been attacked by "a group of older girls".

But today police issued a second statement saying the youngster had received her injuries after she fell off her bike and banged her head.

Supt Steve Nibloe, from Bolton police, said: "We now know for sure that this girl's injuries were entirely accidental. She simply fell off her bike and banged her head.”

During the police investigation, an independent witness, who was in the playground at the time, told police how the accident actually happened.

The Bolton News understands that the witness was a woman who saw the accident, which happened near the park swings, and called an ambulance.

The first statement, issued by police on Monday, said the girl had been taken to hospital with serious head injuries after she was injured while playing in Bobby Heywood Park, Great Lever.

The girl's parents initially thought she had fallen off a swing, but it is understood they were later given new information that suggested she had been assaulted, and the matter was reported to the police.

Police then issued a statement saying the girl had been assaulted by a group of older girls and launched an appeal for witnesses to the incident.

Supt Nibloe now said there was categorically no other person involved.

He said: “We did receive a report that she had been assaulted and, as everyone would expect, we had to investigate such a serious allegation.

"However, that investigation is now complete and we now know for sure that no-one else was involved.

"I want to add however, that all the rumours and speculation about this incident have been unhelpful and potentially damaging to the investigation.

"We always stressed that we didn’t have the full facts and we would update people once we knew what had has happened.

"We have now done this so we trust the girl can be allowed to recover from her accident in peace."

See these earlier stories:

Community's horror after girl, 12, attacked in Bolton park

12-year-old girl with Down's syndrome 'attacked by gang of girls in park'