Island's Polish community in shock after knife rampage that killed six

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As two friends lazed in the sunshine of a quiet Sunday afternoon, the peacefulness of St Helier was broken by a woman's scream.

Izabela Rzeszowski, 30, ran out of her flat with a male attacker chasing her with a knife in hand. Her two children, Kinga, five, Kacper, 18 months, and father Marek, 55, were already dead. Her best friend, Marta De La Haye, 34, lay dying on the doorstep, with her five-year-old daughter Julia, also murdered, nearby.

This was the scene that confronted Alex Wambua, 38, and Bryan Ogesa, 24, as they walked towards the flat on Victoria Crescent, a leafy street overlooking St Helier Bay.

"The man was running after her, screaming in Polish. Suddenly he grabbed her and began stabbing her in the back, again and again," said Mr Wambua, a store supervisor at a nearby Co-op supermarket. "She was not screaming. She had her mouth open but no noise came out."

Mr Ogesa grabbed a traffic cone to ward off the man as Mr Wambua shouted at him to stop. "When I shouted, 'What are you doing?', the wife came running towards me but collapsed next to her friend. Then the guy started walking back towards the front door stabbing himself hard in the arms and chest, yelling something in Polish. He wasn't poking, he was really stabbing himself."

Mr Wambua said the man, whom he described as 5ft8 with blond spiky hair, then turned back towards the flat.

"As he opened the front door I saw an older man with a white goatee lying on his front with a blade sticking into his back. I think he was dead. I saw a blonde girl who looked very young lying beyond him. There was so much blood that I couldn't even tell what colour her clothes were," he said.

The attacker was named locally yesterday as labourer Damian Rzeszowski, 30. His friends spoke of their heartbreak at the massacre, which has sent shockwaves through the island's 10,000-strong Polish community.

Police said a 30-year-old man had been arrested over the attack and was recovering in hospital after having emergency surgery.

Emergency services were so stretched that Jersey General Hospital's accident and emergency department was forced to close for three hours as doctors tried to save the dying victims.