Bizarre double murder baffles police: Two girls abducted then sexually assaulted in council flat where elderly couple were killed. James Cusick reports

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The Independent Online
POLICE were still trying to establish a motive last night for the murder of an elderly couple and a series of sexual attacks on two abducted teenage girls in Hounslow, west London.

The dead couple, described by acquaintances as frail, were named as Madhavji and Raliat Ambasna, believed to be aged 82 and 73 respectively. Detective Superintendent Roland Heming, who is heading the investigation, said the couple were found with multiple stab wounds in their one-bedroom, third-floor council flat. The flat was sealed and forensic science teams were expected to return last night for a detailed examination.

The girls, aged 14 and 18, were being questioned by specially-trained officers to discover if there was any connection between the crimes, which may have been carried out by the same man. Police said that the girls were abducted at knifepoint from outside a fish and chip shop in Cromwell Road, Hounslow, west London, on Monday night, taken to at least two addresses and subjected to serious sexual assaults.

Witnesses said that moments before the girls were abducted they seemed happy and normal in the Silver Fish Bar. The man, described as white and in his twenties also took them to the flat in Benson Close, Hounslow, where the mutilated bodies of the murdered couple were later found in the living room.

As a result of interviewing the girls, police have put together a picture of what may have happened. During their abduction the girls had been forcibly taken to a 'number of addresses' and sexually assaulted. They had been forced, possibly at knifepoint, to walk between houses in Cromwell Road, within 500 yards of Benson Close.

Finally they were taken to the dead couple's flat. Police said the girls may not have known there was anyone dead in the flat. They were sexually assaulted again.

Although police say that only one man was responsible for the attacks on the girls, there were two men at the Benson Close flat.

The girls were said to have been too frightened after their ordeal to raise the alarm immediately.

Earlier yesterday, Scotland Yard confirmed that the two girls had been tied up before one girl escaped and contacted a caretaker, who released the other girl and then saw the bloodstained bodies of the couple in another room.

During the day police searched drains and sewers around Benson Close and Cromwell Road looking for a weapon described by Mr Heming as 'a sharp object'. He said that the knife attack on the couple had been 'vicious' but would not confirm if they had been dismembered. A post-mortem examination was carried out in Fulham to discover the time of the deaths.

'There is no apparent connection between these two events,' Mr Heming said, and there was no information that the murders were racially motivated. However, he said that the attacks were 'severe' and 'horrific'.

The two girls were said to be 'greatly disturbed' by their ordeal. They did not attend hospital. After briefly being allowed to return home, Mr Heming said that they began helping the police piece together what had happened. He described the murders, and the attacks on the girls, as 'a bizarre mystery'.

How the abducted girls and their attacker managed to get past the security system in the flats is one of several questions that police said yesterday they wanted to answer.

Last night, two local men were being questioned at Hounslow police station in connection with the incidents.

(Photograph omitted)

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