Neighbours have told of a womans agonised screams after a one-year-old girl and a three-year-old boy were stabbed to death at a home in east London.
A man believed to be the father of the children, 40, is in hospital with knife injuries.
Police say they are not looking for anyone else in connection with the double homicide and that the children and man “were known to each other”.
Neighbours said the man, whom she knew previously, was brought out by paramedics unconscious and with bare feet. Another said a woman, believed by neighbours to be the mother, was screaming for minutes before police arrived.
The Metropolitan police said they were called to a home in Aldborough Road North, Ilford, just after 5.30pm on Sunday.
The girl was pronounced dead at the scene from knife injuries she had suffered. The boy died later from knife injuries, police said.
Pooja Patel, 28, who lives next door, said she knew the family because they used to shop in the store her family runs: “I saw the dad on a stretcher. There was a covering on his neck as if he was bleeding. He was unconscious.”
The family moved in two to three years ago and lived in a ground-floor flat, said Patel, whose family run J&H News, which is next door.
Patel said the father, whom she believes was Sri Lankan and who spoke some English, came in a few weeks ago to buy pasta during the lockdown: “Sometimes we saw the dad picking up the baby from the nursery, which is nearby.
“The mother came into the shop to top up her Oyster card. The dad came into the shop with the three-year-old boy. The boy was shy and would stand behind his dad and laugh. They seemed like happy children.”
Outside the building where the family lived, a folded pram was propped up against a wall.
Another neighbour said she heard a woman, believed by neighbours to be the childrens mother, screaming as the incident unfolded: “I heard a woman screaming help me … it went on for about 10 minutes.”
The neighbour said she saw a “little body” in a bag being carried by paramedics. She added: “My heart just sank, its devastating, horrific.”
The air ambulance was scrambled in an attempt to save the childrens lives. The Met said they have launched a double murder inquiry.
Thomas Dodds, 78, said he heard a woman screaming for several minutes: “It sickens me … Someone who did that doesnt have a heart, to put a knife into a baby.”
Another neighbour, a nurse, said: “After about five minutes they took the woman who was screaming out. She looked Asian, in her 30s, perhaps. The air ambulance came and thats when I knew it was serious, that something nasty had happened.
“It has absolutely shook me, I couldnt sleep last night. I knew something terrible had happened but when it came out that two children had died, I was shaken.”
Police said the man aged 40 is in critical condition in hospital and is being guarded by officers. He has not been spoken to by detectives because of the extent of his injuries. They can wait until he is well enough to formally make an arrest and begin questioning him.
In a statement the Met said: “A 40-year-old man was also taken hospital and is in a critical condition; officers remain in attendance at the hospital.
“It is believed that all parties involved were known to each other; all three had suffered knife injuries. Although no formal arrest has been made, at this early stage, police are not currently looking for anyone else in connection with this incident.”
Jas Athwal, the leader of Redbridge council, tweeted: “Two young children have passed away & an investigation is ongoing. My thoughts are with the family and wider community who are grieving this unspeakable tragedy. We ask that everyone please respects the familys privacy at this difficult time.”