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Neighbours: It's all such a shock; POLICE PROBE: Girl, aged 6, found dead in her own home.

Byline: By Lisa Smith, Tony Collins and Leda Reynolds

NEIGHBOURS told of their shock at seeing a tiny bodybag being brought from the home of murder suspect Claire Kennedy.

Carl Knight, aged 21, whose flat overlooks the Kennedys' neat family home, said he had seen a woman being led from the property by police on Wednesday.

"A few hours later at about 6 o'clock the police brought out a bodybag on a trolley," he said.

"All the neighbours initially heard a man had been stabbed at the house but this was clearly the small body of a child.

"It was really upsetting, especially as I only saw the little girl playing about on her bike in the sunshine the day before."

Another neighbour, Jennie O'Neill, 34, said she had tried to befriend the family who had only moved into the area a few weeks ago.

"The little girl was lovely - a really pretty little thing. She used to play with the children at the house next door.

"The family at that house are so distraught by her death that they have taken their own daughters to Spain with relatives for a few days."

Audrey Baker, 55, and her daughter Juleen, 30, said the Kennedys were new to the area. Audrey said: "We have had trouble here before but usually with gangs of kids and never anything like this."

Juleen said: "Everyone round here keeps themselves to themselves but we have had problems on the estate with drug dealers and gangs of youths.

"But to hear a little girl has allegedly been murdered in her own home is a great shock."

Jennie's son Jamie O'Neill told her he saw police and forensic experts searching the Kennedys' house for clues.

The property is neatly kept with a painted fence and gravel driveway.

No-one was at the address today but a little girl's shoes could be seen on the back seat of a car in the drive, along with rosary beads.

A child's beaker also lay abandoned on the drive.

Do you know Courtney's family? Ring the Birmingham Mail news-desk on 0121 234 5324 or email mark_cowan@mrn.co.uk

CAPTION(S):

UPSET... Carl Knight saw the body being removed from the house and right, Juleen Baker with nephew Adam. Pictures: Loretta Brennan' FRIEND... neighbour Jennie O'Neill outside the house.
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Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:May 12, 2006
Words:388
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