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Police statement following deaths of three children in Sea Mills

Chief Inspector Vicks Hayward-Melen
There is 1 related update to this story

Statement from Chief Inspector Vicks Hayward-Melen:

“I’d like to start by saying this is a terrible and deeply distressing tragedy in which three young children have lost their lives. Our thoughts are very much with the children’s loved ones who are going through an horrendous ordeal.

“We were first called by a member of the public who was concerned for the welfare of the occupants early on Sunday the 18th of February. Officers arrived at about 12.40am and found three children whose lives could not be saved.

“Forensic post-mortem examinations will now be carried out on the children to establish the cause of death and it’s important we don’t give further detail on this until the proper processes have been carried out. The post-mortem examinations are not likely to be completed until the middle to the end of this week at the earliest.

“Formal identification has not yet taken place, but we believe the victims are a boy aged seven, a girl of three and a nine-month-old boy. Their next of kin have been informed and are being given all the help and support they need by specialist family liaison officers.

“A 42-year-old woman was arrested at the scene and taken to hospital due to injuries she’d sustained. Her condition is not life-threatening, and she remains in police custody at this time.

“Uniformed officers from the Neighbourhood Policing team will be in the area in the coming days to provide reassurance and support to the local community, so please speak to us if you have any concerns or worries.

“It’s important to stress we are treating this as an isolated incident and we don’t believe there to be any ongoing risk to the wider community.

“We’ve been humbled by the community response to this tragedy. At a time of great sadness and disbelief, we’ve seen spontaneous acts of care and support. Within hours of the incident occurring, a local church was opened up for people to gather and mourn. This is what being in a community is all about and we’d like to thank all those who continue to offer this important and selfless service.

“The death of such young children is a great shock to the whole community and this incident has had a profound and deep impact on all of us in the police. We’ll be making sure all those involved in the response and the subsequent investigation are given any welfare support they may need.

“I know people will be eager to have answers, but the Major Crime Investigation Team are in the very early stages of what will be a highly sensitive, complex and thorough investigation, and it will take time to establish all the facts. We anticipate we’ll need to carry out further enquiries at the scene for the rest of the week and there will be some cordons in place while we do this.

“If you have any information which could help, do please call 101 and give the call handler the reference 5224042788, or contact us through our website.

“As is usual in circumstances where there’s been prior police contact, we have notified the Independent Office for Police Conduct, and a mandatory formal referral will be made today.

“We’ll provide further updates when we can. Thank you.”