Hospital guard for father after boy, four, stabbed to death

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The Independent Online

Detectives were today waiting to question a father of two suspected of stabbing his four-year-old son to death before turning the knife on himself.

Neighbours dialled 999 after hearing a furious row at a flat in Southwark, south east London, yesterday evening.

Police officers arrived at the Lynton Estate property to find the body of the four-year-old boy. He had been stabbed.

The man's 28-year-old wife was taken to hospital suffering a stab wound to the neck. She has since been discharged. A 17-month-old girl was found unharmed.

A Metropolitan Police spokesman said the 31-year-old man remains under guard in hospital today in a "serious" condition.

Officers from the force's child abuse investigation command were waiting to arrest and question him.

The spokesman added that no-one has been arrested and officers are not looking for anyone else.

He said: "Police are investigating the circumstances surrounding the death of a four-year-old boy in Southwark.

"We know the identity of the dead child but not all next of kin have been notified at this stage.

"The man remains in a south London hospital. His condition is believed to be stable."

The death is being investigated by officers led by Detective Inspector Keith Braithwaite, based at Stratford.

The spokesman added: "At this stage, officers are looking into all the circumstances surrounding the child's death.

"There have been no arrests and they are not looking for anyone else in connection with the incident."

Simon Hughes, Liberal Democrat MP for North Southwark and Bermondsey, who lives a short distance away, said: "The news today of a little boy's violent death in Bermondsey is almost too horrific to imagine.

"There will be huge shock and horror throughout the community, especially from those of us who live nearby.

"The thoughts and prayers of the country will be with the little girl also found in the flat, and all the family.

"Our thoughts are also very much with the police, NHS staff and other public servants who are dealing with this terrible tragedy.

"I have immediately sent wishes of support and solidarity to be passed on by Southwark Borough's police commander."

Residents on the estate spoke of their shock on hearing the news of the death of the four-year-old.

Joan Dixon, 39, who has lived on the estate for 23 years, said: "What I heard was screaming, then my mum saw the police turn up. We saw the ambulance turn up and they were doing everything they could to resuscitate the man."

She said she did not know the family.

"They are just a normal family - everyone just thought they were normal. He used to go off early in the morning."

Her mother, Rita Dixon, 71, said: "I saw a man on a stretcher - they were resuscitating him halfway down the stairs and then outside. They were doing everything to sort him out."

She said she did not know the family.

"They never mixed with anyone, they kept themselves to themselves."

Joan Dixon added: "It is shocking, it is just so sad. How could a person do that to a child? I think it is just diabolical."

She described the area as "no trouble" and "normal and quiet".