Update: Double murder inquiry launched after mother and child found dead

POLICE have today launched a double murder inquiry after the bodies of a mother and daughter were found at an Essex home.

They were found at an address in Bartram Avenue, Braintree, around 3am today.

A man is currently in hospital under police guard and officers have confirmed they are not searching for anyone else in relation to the incident.

People in the area have told how they believe a second child escaped through a window and ran to a relative’s home nearby.

The woman killed has been named locally as Chrissy Chambers, and the dead child as her daughter Shania, aged three.

A spokeswoman for Essex Police said: “Officers were called to Bartram Avenue, Braintree, shortly before 3am today. A man is currently in hospital under police guard.

“Police are not searching for anyone with regards to this incident.”

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Neighbours have told of the aftermath of the tragedy, when police had arrived on the scene.

Neighbour Karen Ballisat, 36, said: “I woke up at about 4.10am and all I could hear was shouting. I saw her home was surrounded by police. They were shouting ‘Don’t move or we will shoot’. It was like something from a horror film.

“I’ve lived here for 10 years and I’ve known her for most of that time.

“She was always laughing and wanting to be the centre of attention. Her daughter was a bubbly little girl. You don’t expect this on your own street.”

Angela Bass, 47, who was staying with her mother, 78-year-old Sylvia Bass, in Bartram Avenue, said she had been woken by the sound of police dogs barking in the streets.

“I looked out of my window and saw police cars, ambulances and fire engines.”

She said she had heard two “very loud bangs”.

“I thought at first it was police getting the front door to open. I don’t think it was the front door now, I believe it was gun shots.”

Neighbour Tony Challice said police arrived at the house at 3am and spent around two hours negotiating with the gunman.

Officers could be seen attempting to talk to him through the letterbox.

He added: “It was about 4.45am when we heard two gunshots from inside the house. We saw officers rushing through the door.

“Everybody was out on the street watching. We couldn’t believe what was happening.”

Another neighbour, Karen Bathurst, said the victim was a “great mother” and her daughter was a “lovely little girl”.

“None of us can believe this has happened to them,” she said.

Karren Tomlinson, 35, who lives next door to the scene, said she was woken by the sound of gunshots.

“I heard loud bangs and a dog started barking. He is usually very quiet so I knew something was wrong. I looked out of the window and I said to my husband I could see four armed men in the back garden.

“At 4.10am we were escorted outside our house and we went over to my mums. I have lived next door to them for about four years and they are a lovely family. She has four children and two of them lived with her. She loved them all very much. She was a full-time mum.

“Shania was two-and-a-half and was an adorable little girl. She used to come out in the garden and shout to me over the fence. She liked a bit of rough and tumble and played with my children.”

The second child in the house, who is 10 years old, was able to escape by climing out of a window.

The 10-year-old’s brother, Stuart Flitt, 26, who lives on the same road said she was ”devastated but okay”.

“What she has seen will stay with her for the rest of her life,” he said.

Officers from the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate are at the scene and enqiries are continuing into the circumstances leading up to this incident. Anyone with any information is asked to call police on 0300 333 4444.