A mother has spoken of her horror at finding her heavily pregnant daughter moments after she was kicked so hard in the stomach by two helmet-wearing thugs that she lost her baby.
Malorie Bantala, 21, who was 32 weeks pregnant, was pushed to the ground by men who stamped on her 'clearly visible' stomach in an attack which was 'tantamount to murder', according to detectives.
She was taken to a south London hospital after the attack near her home in Peckham on Monday, but medics discovered there was no foetal heart beat and the baby had died.
Malorie is now fighting for her life in a 'critical condition' after suffering internal bleeding and she was transferred to an intensive care unit overnight.
Her mother Ida, 49, said she was upstairs in her flat when someone came screaming to her door shouting: 'Malorie's mum, Malorie's mum, come quickly.'
She said: 'I rushed down and there she was just lying on the pavement with the police.
'She was just crying and crying.
'If you see your daughter like that, it's awful. Words can't explain it.
'Then an about an hour later maybe they took her to hospital and I went with her.
'Malorie was so excited about having the baby and we were all pleased for her. I wanted to be a grandma. She was so happy and now she is sick in hospital.'
The suspects, both black men aged in their 20s, ran off in the direction of Denmark Road still wearing crash helmets after the attack near Malorie's home in Talfourd Place.
Detectives said the attackers deliberately targeted the unborn child in an 'unconscionable and shocking' assault.
Police said the two men wore crash helmets and may have arrived on a moped or motorbike.
A 20-year-old man was arrested on Tuesday on suspicion of grievous bodily harm with intent and child destruction and remains in custody at this stage.
'We've lived here since 2001 and never had any trouble at all. She finished uni and then went to work.'
A member of the public called police who gave first aid at the scene.
One neighbour who did not wish to be named said: 'She's a girl who lived upstairs and we have watched her grow up, finish school, start work and then get ready to have her baby.
'I was just on my way home from work, I get in about 8.15 and I saw her lying on the floor just to the right of my house.
'I said, 'Oh my god, what are you doing on the floor?' And then the police arrived. But it was an hour before they left to take her to hospital.
'And no ambulance ever turned up even though neighbours kept calling and kept calling.
'It's so awful - this is such a quiet street - you never expect something like this.'
Detective Chief Inspector Robert Pack from Scotland Yard said: 'It is quite clear she was heavily, heavily pregnant. She was given first aid in the street and taken to hospital.
'That child was totally viable. The law says at 28 weeks the child is viable of independent life.
'It has had a purely devastating impact of that young lady's life and the sheer nastiness of the crime.
'These are nasty individuals that need catching. It's tantamount to murder.
'The hospital did all the necessary checks, during the course of that night and the early morning no foetal heart beat was detected.
'She is fighting for her life, she is very poorly unfortunately and been transferred to intensive care overnight.
'She has friends and family around her and we are hoping she makes a full recovery. She certainly knows she has lost her child.
'She has been conscious and we have a specialist officer liaising with her in providing an account and a timeline.
'There is no doubt in my mind given the circumstances of this incident we do not think it was random.
'From what we know we are working on the hypothesis it was the targeted at that unborn child. We are not out looking for people targeting at random pregnant women. It's a one off.
'It was sustained and more than one hit when she was on the floor.
'It was a unconscionable and shocking act. They did not say anything when they were attacking her.
'It would appear there were no physical blows to her head or face. It seems all the violence was targeted at the child.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the incident room on 020 8345 3985 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.