A woman was screaming for help “like she was being tortured” at a property where a one-year-old girl and a boy aged three were stabbed to death, a neighbour has said.
Police and the air ambulance rushed to the home in Aldborough Road North, Ilford, east London, at around 5.30pm on Sunday after receiving reports of a man and two children injured.
The toddler died at the scene, which is just yards from a day nursery, while the boy died in hospital, Scotland Yard said.
A 40-year-old man, who was known to the children, was taken to hospital for treatment for knife wounds, the force said.
A murder investigation has been launched although police are not looking for anyone else over the killings.
A mother-of-two who lives across the road and gave her name as Reshna told the PA news agency: “I heard a woman screaming ‘Help me’.
“It sounded like she was being tortured. I knew something horrible must have happened, it went on for about 10 minutes.”
The neighbour said she later saw medics carrying a “little body” in a bag outside.
She added: “My heart just sank, it’s devastating, horrific. From a mother’s perspective … I’m still shaken from it, I can’t imagine what she feels at the moment.”
Police were seen patrolling a cordon encircling two newsagents attached to some flats in the quiet residential road off the A12 on Monday morning.
Officers were overheard talking about obtaining CCTV from one of the newsagent shops.
Two small toy rabbits, one blue and one white and pink, were left at the scene with a note saying: “Little angels, we are so sorry. Rest in Peace.”
Several neighbours said the man, woman and children were of Sri Lankan descent but none knew them by name.
Neighbour Intisar Ahmed said they had lived there for around two years and that she saw a police officer take one of the injured children outside and try to save him with CPR.
She said: “I was so, so upset. I couldn’t believe it, the baby on the floor and the policeman trying first aid.
“I saw them put him on the floor and it looks like they had taken the clothes off. I could hear the mother screaming.”
A passer-by who lives in the road said she heard someone “screaming and screaming inside” before police turned up and officers went “rushing in”.
The resident, who gave her name as Angelina, said the woman was helped out by police and appeared to be Asian and in her 30s.
She added: “The air ambulance came and that’s when I knew it was serious, that something nasty had happened.
“It has absolutely shook (sic) me, I couldn’t sleep last night. I knew something terrible had happened but when it came out that two children had died, I was shaken.”
Thomas Dodds, 78, who lives around 20 yards from the scene, added: “”It sickens me … Someone who did that doesn’t have a heart, to put a knife into a baby.”