An eight-year-old girl has received 16 stitches to her cheek after she was attacked by a Shire horse while playing in a Norwich park.

Jessica Ouchai was with her father Mario and five-year-old brother Marco in Sloughbottom Park on Saturday (24 May), when the tethered horse suddenly ran towards her, knocked her to the ground and bit her right cheek.

“It was awful,” said Jessica’s mother Raffaella. “The children had gone to the park with my husband to play on the swings and ride their bikes when I got a phonecall to say that an ambulance was taking her tohospital because she had been savaged by a big horse.”

An ambulance took Jessica to the Norfolk and Norwich University hospital where she underwent an hour-long operation by a plastic surgeon to repair her gashed cheek.

“Before the accident Jessica loved animals but now she is frightened: a dog ran past her yesterday and she was terrified,” said Raffaella.

Police have confirmed that they are investigating the incident. The horse’s owners have been contacted and he has been removed from the park.

“I am really worried about where this horse has gone – what if it does it to someone else’s child? I don’t want anything bad to happen to it, I just want to make sure it doesn’t do it again,” says Raffaella.

Jessica stayed in hospital overnight before being released the next day.

“She is quite shaken and doesn’t want anyone to see her face,” explained her mum. “But one of her friends is coming over to play and she is due to go back to the hospital on Friday, so we will see how she is before letting her go back to school on Monday.”

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