Husband arrested after wife and mother stabbed

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The Independent Online

Detectives arrested the estranged husband of a woman today after she and her mother were found stabbed to death.

The man, named locally as Sergei Zolotovsky, was found hiding in the loft of a burning home in Beckton, east London, after attempting to slash his throat.

Police went to the house in Leamouth Road after his former partner Svetlana was fatally stabbed near a bus stop in nearby Stansfeld Road.

They found the victim's mother, aged in her late sixties or early seventies, with fatal knife wounds on the ground floor of the home.

Firefighters extinguished a fire believed to have been deliberately started in one of the bedrooms.

Police are investigating whether Zolotovsky ambushed Svetlana, aged in her forties, as she walked to work before returning to her family home.

The suspect, aged in his forties and believed to be a self-employed plumber, and the two murdered women, are all from Eastern Europe.

Neighbours said police dressed in protective uniforms and dog handlers smashed their way into the house at about 8am.

The couple were separated and the man has not lived in the modern semi-detached house for more than a year.

Ben Tilley, 28, said "something happened" more than 12 months ago and the man moved a short distance away.

He said: "I have not seen him for about a year since he moved out. When they first moved here they were a nice couple, a pleasant couple.

"They were very house proud. Something happened a year ago and he moved out."

Mr Tilley said he was alerted to the attack by police who knocked on his door shortly before 8am.

He said: "I saw him taken from the property by paramedics. There were a nice, normal couple. Very friendly. They kept themselves to themselves.

"He worked and she worked and they used to keep the house very nice. I say hello to her almost daily when she was leaving or coming home from work."

Officers from the Met's Homicide and Serious Crime Command are investigating the attacks, which took place at about 7.30am.

They were led from Stansfeld Road to the burning house after finding identity documents carried by the younger victim.

Police have cordoned off a large stretch of Stansfeld Road, near the Royal Albert Docklands Light Railway (DLR) station, north of Richard House Drive.

Forensic officers were examining the pavement and several bins around a bus stop close to Jasper Road today. A forensic tent has been erected nearby.

Most of Leamouth Road, which is a short distance away across Beckton District Park, has also been cordoned off.

Eyewitnesses said there was little visible evidence of a fire at the 1980s red brick property.

The suspect was taken to an east London hospital where he has been arrested on suspicion of murder. His injuries are not life threatening.

A police spokesman said: "Inquiries are under way to identify the deceased and trace next of kin. Inquiries continue."

A London Fire Brigade spokesman said the first floor of the Leamouth Road home was badly damaged by the fire and smoke.

He said officers were called at 7.40am and spent 35 minutes bringing the blaze under control.

The spokesman added that the cause of the fire was under investigation by police and firefighters.

A London Ambulance Service spokesman said paramedics were called to Leamouth Road shortly before 8am.

A single response vehicle, two ambulances and the air ambulance went to the scene but the woman could not be saved.

Stansfeld Road is a short distance from the scene of the murder of cleaner Ade Pukeliene, 57, in March 2008.

The Lithuanian widow was attacked as she walking home from a nightshift when she was robbed by two men on a scooter in Emerald Close.