Emergency services were called to a property in Cornwallis Road, Dagenham, east London, at 2pm on Friday (16 December), where they found the bodies of the two boys, aged two and five.
A 44-year-old woman, who was known to the children, was arrested shortly afterwards when police were called to a disturbance at a nearby property in Maxey Road, and she remains in custody. A man was also arrested near to the scene but was later released without further action.
On Saturday father-of-two Sultan Wadud, 40, of Cornwallis Road, said: “Between 1.30pm and 2pm I heard a loud scream or a shout.” He said it was more like a reaction to something. “It sounded more like a scream, probably a man (who screamed),” he said.
“I didn’t have time to look out the window to see what was going on but it was more of a reaction rather than somebody shouting. I only moved into the area about a year ago. The area is very quiet.
“It’s scary and sad at the same time knowing what’s happened, especially being a parent myself with two small kids (aged four and one). It has been a shock to the community.”
Another neighbour, Sebastian Asiedu, 43, said: “Yesterday I saw the police officers and ambulance all over but I didn’t know what was going on until I heard from the news that two children (had died). It’s so sad I haven’t even been able to sleep.
“I feel so bad, I feel so sad, I feel so worried, I feel so disturbed because when we moved down here it was a quiet place to live.” Michael Rutherford, 46, also of Cornwallis Road, added: “It’s horrific. It’s shocking. It’s a quiet street.”
What have police said about the deaths?
A force spokesman said: “An investigation has been launched into the deaths of two children in Dagenham. Emergency services were called at around 1400hrs on Friday, 16 December, to the bodies of two young children found at a residential address in Cornwallis Road, Dagenham.
“Officers and London Ambulance Service attended the location. They found the bodies of a two-year-old boy and a five-year-old boy, who were both pronounced dead at the scene.
“Their family have been informed and will be supported by specialist officers. A woman was arrested a short time later in connection with the incident. She was arrested after police were called to a disturbance at a residential address near to the scene.
“A man was also arrested near to the scene in connection with the incident. He was later released without further action.”
Detective Inspector Sean Treweek said: “This is clearly an extremely distressing incident with many unanswered questions, however at this very early stage, nobody else is sought in connection with the deaths. I want to thank local people for the assistance they have given officers as they work to establish the full circumstances of these two tragic deaths.
“They will see additional officers in the area, and anyone with information or concerns should speak with those officers.”