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Police 'could have stopped' the killing of mother and daughter

There were angry scenes as neighbours of a woman and young child found dead after a shooting incident claimed police had failed to prevent the tragedy.

Police had been aware for two years of a man suspected of shooting dead the mother and girl, it emerged last night.

A senior police officer said a "number of incidents" involving the suspect - believed to be the father of the dead girl - and the victim, Christine Chambers (38), had been reported to Essex Police.

Officers found the bodies of Ms Chambers, known to friends as Chrissie, and her daughter Shania (2), at their home in Braintree, Essex, yesterday morning. Ms Chambers' other daughter, aged 10, fled the scene and alerted family members who called police.

Outside the house a neighbour shouted at police: "You knew this was going to happen, you could have stopped it." The man was led away by officers.

Another neighbour said: "She had called the police before on several occasions and there had been a lot of problems in the past."

At a press conference in Braintree Town Hall, Assistant Chief Constable Gary Beautridge, head of the Kent and Essex serious crime directorate, said a 50-year-old man was under guard in hospital after the shootings.

He is undergoing treatment for shotgun injuries which are not thought to be life-threatening.

Mr Beautridge said: "All people in this incident are known to each other."

He continued: "There have been an number of incidents where contact between the man in custody and Chrissie Chambers have been referred to Essex Police over the course of the last two years."

Mr Beautridge said Essex Police had referred the case to the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

The man in hospital, named locally as David Oakes, is believed to be Shania's father. He has not yet been arrested, Mr Beautridge said.

Police are not looking for anyone else in connection with the deaths.

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