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The family of a nine-year-old girl who was stabbed to death as she played with her younger sister in the street have gone into hiding, as the first picture of the fruit picker charged with her murder has been revealed.

Witnesses reported that Lilia Valutyte and her five-year-old sister were playing with a hula hoop when she was attacked at 6.20pm on Thursday, in Boston, Lincolnshire.

The attack, described as a "parent's worst nightmare", sparked a manhunt that saw Lithuanian fruit picker Deividas Skebas, 22, arrested.

Skebas, also of Boston, appeared at Lincoln Magistrates’ Court today (August 1) charged with the youngster's murder.

He spoke only to confirm his name, address and date of birth during a two-minute hearing.

His ex-girlfriend has described Skebas' family in Lithuania as "business people" and "upper class".

Beata Sapuskaite, 23, told The Times Skebas moved to the UK for work after studying in his home country. He went home again when he faced unspecified health issues, before returning to Boston, Lincs again.

Ms Sapuskaite said Skebas did "field work" to sustain himself in the UK.

MS Agricultural Services, run by the young victim's mother, was mooted in the press as his employer, leading police to look into the potential motive of unpaid wages driving the alleged attack.

However, Ms Sapuskaite said this wasn't his employer.

The news comes as the five-year-old sister, mum Lina Savicke, 35, and her husband have been taken to a safe space by police as fears grow that they could be targeted, too.

A close friend of the family told The Sun: “The family are so, so worried. They have not been able to stay at home.

“They are worried whoever did this could still be out there. They are worried they could be a target.

“It is just so awful — they have the impossible task of trying to come to terms with the loss of Lilia.

“Then they still feel they need to protect their other little daughter.”

The same title reported that police are exploring the theory that the attack on the child could have been motivated by a vendetta.

Explaining the moments before Lilia's death, a local resident told the Telegraph: "The little girl was playing in the street with her younger sister when it happened. They had some toys out.

"I’m sure her mum wouldn’t have been far away as she always checked on them.

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"She was a very quiet girl, and I just can’t understand it."

A friend of Lilia's mum Lina described the attack as "inhuman".

Taxi driver Jonathan Newton, 55, who also lives in the area, 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."

  • Crime

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