Neighbours in shock after children are stabbed and man, 79, dies in Bethnal Green
- Credit: Archant
A little boy of two stabbed in the stomach was carried in the arms of a policeman to a waiting ambulance from his house where a pensioner thought to be his grandfather was fatally wounded and two other children were injured.
The peace of a quiet back street in London’s East End was shattered last night in a frenzied knifing incident as a fleet of seven ambulances and at least a dozen police cars converged.
Neighbours watched in horror as the dying pensioner and the wounded children were brought out of the house at the end of Huddleston Close in Bethnal Green.
Scotland Yard announced today that a murder investigation was under way in the small cul-de-sac off Parmiter Street near Victoria Park.
Police had been called in by the London Ambulance Service needing help just before 7pm who found five injured people, two adults and the three children.
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The two-year-old boy and an 11-year-old girl believed to be his sister were among those being treated for stab wounds, while an older boy of 13 was treated for minor injuries.
All three were taken to hospital where they currently remain in a stable condition.
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The 79-year-old man with stab wounds was also rushed to hospital, but died three hours later at 10pm.
Next door neighbour Ibraham Ansar heard everything through the thin walls of the terraced council houses.
“I heard the commotion and that’s when things sparked,” the teenager told the East London Advertiser tonight.
“We heard loud screams next door. Someone called for the ambulance which arrived at our house and we told them the screams came from next door.
“The paramedics rushed in. I was horrified—it’s unusual because they are really a nice, quiet family. We saw them just a couple of days ago.”
Mother-of-five Sarah Morgan came to her front door opposite when police arrived, horrified at what had happened to her neighbour’s children.
“The mother was screaming and crying out,” she said. “It was a shock, especially as my children play with their little ones in the swing park.
“This is a very quiet turning. We’re quite a close-knit community and come out with cups of tea, chat to all the neighbours. It’s just a normal close with everyday life.”
But the everyday life was shattered on a warm Sunday evening.
A 31-year-old man was found in the house with what Scotland Yard said today was “self-inflicted injuries” and was taken to hospital.
He has been arrested by detectives “on suspicion of murder” and is to be taken to a police station for questioning after his release from hospital.
Five doors along, neighbour Naher Haque, 22, who has lived in Huddleston Close all her life, told the Advertiser: “I saw the little boy being carried into the ambulance in bandages. Then I saw the old man being taken in a wheelchair to another ambulance—he was in a lot of shock. I could tell by his face. He looked very still, very lost. It was just tragic and so sad.”
The cul-de-sac was built 22 years ago specifically for large families, named after the late Bishop of Stepney Trevor Huddleston who was a formidable campaigner against South African apartheid in the 1960s.
The three-storey dwellings have up to five bedrooms. A children’s swing park is at one end where youngsters can play safely under their mothers’ watchful eye.
But the safety of this modern housing complex was shattered at the weekend.
One of the mothers, Natasha Smith, said: “I was shocked to see the baby in the policeman’s arms—you could see he had an open wound on his stomach with plasters and things.
“The girl of 11 looked poorly and could hardly walk. Then they brought the grandfather out in a wheelchair.
“There were five or six ambulances, two more standing by and the emergency paramedic car. There must have been 15 police cars—the whole place was surrounded.”
Formal identification and a post-mortem examination on the pensioner will be held later at Poplar.
Detectives from the Met’s Homicide and Major Crime Command say they are keeping an open mind about the stabbing motive. They are not seeking anyone else in connection with the incident.