A GIRL of nine was stabbed to death in front of her little sister as they played with a hula-hoop in the street.
Lilia Valutyte was with her five-year-old sibling outside a café where their mum was working when she was attacked with a knife.
Two men were last night in custody and being quizzed about the attack after armed police raided a house in Boston, Lincs.
One line of inquiry was said to center on claims the attacker believed Lilia’s mum Lina — a recruitment agency boss — owed him money for factory shifts.
Lithuanian Lina was understood to have been working just 10ft away watching her girls from the window of the café.
She was the first to rush to her daughter’s aid on the cobbled street, which is also home to legal and accountancy firms, beauticians and restaurants.
One local said: “Her mum had a business inside. She worked from a desk on her laptop and had been doing it for a couple of months.
“It’s only a quiet street so she would let them play outside.
“I think they had a hula-hoop and dolly’s pushchair. I’m sure she would have been inside.”
Another local who knows the family extremely well, said: “It’s horrible. I spoke to Lilia at 4pm yesterday and she said, ‘Goodbye, see you tomorrow’.”
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Another family friend told The Sun: “This is just a sick joke. She was so little. I was only cutting her hair days ago.
“There is no humanity left in this place — none. For someone to do this is inhuman.”
Just days earlier, the girls had baked their dad, Aurejlius, a cake for his birthday and put a picture on social media.
Detectives yesterday said they had arrested two men in connection with the attack, which took place at 6.20pm on Thursday in Fountain Lane.
They refused to reveal what offenses the suspects were being quizzed about.
Chief Supt Kate Anderson, of Lincolnshire Police, said: “Our thoughts continue to be with Lilia’s family and friends.
“If any members of the public have information that might assist please call, or they can report anonymously via Crimestoppers.”
A force spokesman added yesterday: “We believe this to be an isolated incident.
‘JUST A LITTLE GIRL’
“We are pursuing extensive lines of inquiry and have committed a number of resources to this investigation.
“You will see more officers patrolling the area and we have a high number of specialist detectives who have been brought in to assist.”
Paul Skinner, the leader of Boston council, said: “The town is united in mourning following the very sad and tragic death of a nine-year-old girl.
“We can’t for one second imagine the pain the family and the young girl’s friends are going through and our heartfelt condolences go out to them.”
Mr Skinner said that as a mark of respect, the council will fly a flag at half-mast.
Heartbroken locals have told of their horror at the “most shocking tragedy to ever befall the town”. Many have visited the scene to leave flowers.
A note attached to a bouquet of pink roses reads: “So sorry this cruel world has taken your life beautiful girl.
“May you be in the arms of the angels.”
It’s the most shocking tragedy to ever befall our little town. I’m just speechless
Taxi driver Jonathan Newton, 55, said: “We are a close-knit community here and the town is rocked to the core by this tragedy.
“She was just a little girl. How could anyone do this to a nine-year-old?
“It’s the most shocking tragedy to ever befall our little town. I’m just speechless.”
Lilia’s former school has also paid tribute. Staff at Holy Trinity Pre-School said the community is “shocked and sorry” to hear the “devastating news”.
Lilia’s family are being supported by specially-trained officers tonight.
In 2016, Boston was the murder capital of England and Wales, according to Home Office data recording crimes per 100,000 people.
The market town had the highest number of murders and attempted murders.
Roberts Buncis, 12, was stabbed to death in Boston two years ago.
STABBED AS SHE PLAYED
This morning, his dad Edgars emotionally addressed Lilia’s parents and siblings.
“Dear family, you will go through hell. Be strong, take any help you can get,” he said.
“My son was stabbed to death on December 12 2020, and I still live with that and think it will never end. It’s so sad.
“Where are we going, what is wrong with this world, what is wrong with Boston… I would tell you thousands of words but don’t know what to say… be strong, love those you have.”
Matt Warman MP, for Boston and Skegness, said his thoughts were with the young girl’s family.
He said: “Profoundly shocking news in Boston. My thoughts are with the family of the girl involved.
“I have spoken to senior officers locally and am hugely grateful for all the emergency services’ work.”
Anyone with information is urged to call 101, quoting incident 419 of July 28.
Those wishing to remain anonymous can report via the independent charity CrimeStoppers on 0800 555 111 or online.