A toddler murdered in her bedroom while her mother was downstairs had been monitored by social services as a baby
Casey Leigh Mullen, two, was found in a pool of blood by her mother on Sunday evening. She had been strangled.
Police were yesterday questioning a 21-year-old man - thought to be Casey's uncle Michael Mullen - on suspicion of murder and serious sexual assault.
The grim discovery was made by Casey's mother, Samantha Canham, also 21, at the council house in the Gipton area of Leeds where she lived with boyfriend David Mullen and three-year-old son Darren.
Neighbour Sarah Pringle, who had gone round to the house for a cup of tea, told how Miss Canham - known as Sammy - went upstairs to check on her daughter.
The next thing she heard was her friend screaming: 'She's dead, she's dead. Someone's killed Casey.'
Miss Pringle, 22, said she rushed in to find Casey covered in blood and her mother shaking uncontrollably.
'Sammy was too shocked to give her mouth-to-mouth so I did it while we waited for an ambulance,' she added.
Casey was taken to the city's St James's Hospital but was pronounced dead soon afterwards.
Two men, believed to be Casey's 20-year-old father and his 19-year old brother Lee, were arrested but released yesterday without charge.
As detectives continued to question the third man, a post-mortem examination identified the cause of death as 'compression of the neck'.
Floral tributes to an 'angelic' child known to neighbours as a 'little smiler' built up outside the family home yesterday as the community expressed its shock and grief.
Leeds City Council said its social workers had been involved 'briefly' with Casey's family in 2005 when she was a baby but not since.
However friends and neighbours revealed the couple had a stormy relationship, marred by rumours of violence and drugs as well as of neglect of their daughter.
Jenny Mackwell, 19, who has known Miss Canham since primary school, said: 'A couple of years ago there was all this screaming and rowing and someone reported them to social services. But I think the kids were fine when they checked.
'Casey was a real bundle of joy with lovely blonde hair and blue eyes - she was always smiling. Prison would be too good for whoever did this to her.'
'The hospital must have contacted social services. Anyone that knows Sammy knows she would not hurt her kids. She adores them. It was just a silly mistake.'
Miss Leatham said her friend was under sedation. 'To be in the house while your daughter is killed must be every mum's worst nightmare.'