Baby survives after gunman kills three people in London flat

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The Independent Online

The boy, who was unharmed, was found in the same room as the bodies of two women, aged 27 and 34, and a 62-year-old man, on the estate in Wembley, north-west London, yesterday afternoon. Police believe that one of the women was the boy's mother, and that the man could have been his father. The two women are thought to have been sisters.

A relative had become concerned that she had not heard from her family for some time and discovered what one police source described as "carnage" after calling at the flat. She then called the police.

Detectives are still trying to ascertain whether the three were killed in the flat, and whether they were killed in front of the baby. Reports that he was covered in blood when he was found could not be confirmed, a Metropolitan Police spokeswoman said.

There were reports that neighbours had heard gunshots the night before the alarm was raised, indicating that the boy could have been left alone with the bodies for more than 18 hours.

All three people had been shot and there was speculation that their bodies may also have been tied up. The baby was taken to hospital and is now in the care of social services, the spokes-woman said.

Last night, armed officers were guarding the flat, which has been cordoned off. The bodies remained inside as forensic officers carried out a detailed examination in the hunt for clues.

Neighbours on the estate in Stonebridge, an area made notorious in the1990s because of problems with drugs and crime, said that the man, who had worked as a cleaner on the estate, was quiet and unassuming.

"He was a nice, clean-cut guy," Nilesh Mansuklal, 36, said. "He took the time to talk to people and always seemed to have a smile on his face. I often saw him wandering around the shops with his friends.

"For a man in his sixties, he was incredibly active. He worked hard and had a big, loving family. It makes no sense that somebody would want to take his life."

All three victims were black, and detectives from Trident, the Metropolitan Police's specialist unit for dealing with black-on-black crime, are investigating the murders, the spokeswoman said. Detectives are working to establish whether any eye witnesses saw the suspects leave the flat, but have so far released no details on the identities of the killer, or killers.

Ruling out speculation that one of the dead may have killed the other two before turning a gun on themselves, the spokes-woman said: "All three deaths are being treated as murder."