London

Pregnant woman attacked in Peckham 'may have been targeted'

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Media captionThe woman who was assaulted is ''still very poorly,'' Det Ch Insp Robert Pack told the BBC's Sarah Campbell

A pregnant woman who lost her baby after she was pushed to the ground and kicked may have been deliberately targeted, police have said.

The 21-year-old, who was 32 weeks pregnant, was attacked by two men wearing crash helmets in Peckham, south London, at around 20:00 BST on Monday.

A 20-year-old man was arrested on Tuesday and remains in custody.

Following the attack, the woman was forced to wait more than an hour for an ambulance that never arrived.

The London Ambulance Service apologised after admitting police were forced to take the victim to hospital themselves when, after an hour and ten minutes of waiting, the ambulance had still not attended.

The victim later lost her baby in hospital and remains in a critical condition following the attack near her home.

'Sickening'

Both men "continually kicked and stamped on her stomach" before fleeing the scene, police said.

A number of people heard the victim's screams and went to help her, the police added.

After the attack in Talfourd Place, the suspects, described as black and in their 20s, ran off in the direction of Denmark Road, the Met said.

Det Ch Insp Robert Pack said police were investigating whether the woman was targeted by the assailants and were "treating it akin to murder".

"This was a truly abhorrent and vile attack on a heavily pregnant woman who has now, tragically, lost her baby," he said.

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Image caption Both men, wearing crash helmets, stamped on the woman's stomach, police said

"The men who attacked her must have known the impact their actions would have when they kicked her repeatedly in the stomach.

"It is sickening to think someone would deliberately target a pregnant woman in this way."

The baby died in the early hours of the morning when "no foetal heartbeat was detected", he said.

Mr Pack said the woman "possibly" knew her attackers and that murder detectives were handling the case due to the "sheer level of mercilessness involved".

He said the two men were distinctive in their crash helmets and appealed for anyone with information to come forward.

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