Three children among six dead after knife attack in Jersey flat

 

Three young children were among six people killed in a knife attack in Jersey yesterday afternoon.

Also among the dead were two women and one man. All the victims were believed to be Jersey residents but their identities have not yet been disclosed. A 30-year-old man was under arrest at Jersey Hospital last night, where he is recovering from surgery, according to police.

The alarm was raised just after 3pm by a member of the public reporting a multiple stabbing at a flat at Victoria Crescent, Upper Midvale Road, St Helier, in an incident which is believed to have spilled out onto the street. Inquiries were continuing to establish a motive but it is understood no one else was being sought over the killings, which have shocked the close-knit community.

Few details about the incident were known last night, but some locals claimed the victims were all members of the same family. One neighbour told the BBC he had heard children screaming in terror. And witness Andre Thorpe said he arrived in Victoria Crescent in St Helier at about 3pm. He said: "For Jersey it was a major incident. Two ambulances turned up first because it was within a quarter of a mile of the ambulance station. Then four or five police vehicles came, all blues and twos.

"They were trying to access a private house in the crescent," he added. "It was an old Victorian terrace, a lot of them are split into flats. I saw police come running out with a child. It was a small child, I just saw the legs. They went off in an ambulance."

Mr Thorpe said he believed all the victims were members of the same family. Another neighbour said she believed the family were Polish.

A major incident room has been set up at police headquarters in St Helier, and police said a number of witnesses had come forward and police were working to identify the victims.

Head of crime services Stewart Gull, who is leading the inquiry, said: "Clearly this complex investigation is in its very early stages as we try to establish exactly what happened. We are mindful, too, of the impact of any such serious and tragic incident on the local community, and we have police officers in the area to support the investigation and local people." Mr Gull was unable to indicate how young the children were or confirm suggestions locally that the victims were Polish.

The shocking incident is likely to have a profound affect on the island's 91,000 inhabitants, the overwhelming majority of whom are native islanders of either Norman French or British extraction. Jersey recently recorded its lowest crime levels for 10 years, with just under 1,600 crimes reported in the first five months of the year.

Some residents who live near the killings were unable to return to their homes last night while forensics officers worked within a police cordon.

At a news conference, Mr Gull emphasised that Jersey was an "incredibly safe" island, adding that it had been a "pretty traumatic" incident for emergency teams to deal with. Mr Gull, who led the Ipswich serial murders inquiry in 2006, said: "It goes without saying that when you are dealing with multiple deaths, of men and women and, in particular young children, you would be inhuman not to be shaken yourself."

He added: "Jersey is an incredibly safe island, probably one of the safest places in the Western world and incidents of this nature are an extremely rare occurrence."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
14 best kids' hoodies

14 best kids' hoodies

Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk