Braintree shooting incident: Woman and child found dead

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Media captionThe BBC's Mike Cartwright says the neighbours' accounts give the sense of a stand-off

A double murder inquiry has begun after the bodies of a woman and a young child were found following a shooting incident in Essex.

Officers were called to reports of a firearms incident in Bartram Avenue, Braintree, shortly before 0300 BST.

A man was taken to Broomfield Hospital, Chelmsford, and is under police guard. Police are not looking for anyone else in connection with the investigation.

Neighbours said another child had escaped out of a back window.

'Horror film'

Essex Police has referred the case to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC).

The IPCC said there is sufficient concern about the shooting to send two of its officers to Essex to decide whether to launch a full investigation.

The BBC's Mike Cartwright said neighbours told him an eight-year-old who was in the property climbed out of the window and went to a nearby house.

He said neighbours described the victims as a woman aged in her 30s and her two-year-old daughter.

Police have not released details of how the woman and child died.

The man is being treated in hospital for gunshot wounds.

Officers spent almost two hours negotiating with the man.

Neighbour Karen Ballisat told BBC Look East: "I was woken by police saying 'your house is surrounded, don't move or we'll shoot you'.

"I looked out the window and saw police with guns and it looked like something out of a horror film."

She the woman was "lovely, always laughing, a lovely lady", while the child was "a very happy, bubbly little girl".

'Loud bangs'

Angela Bass, 47, who was staying with her mother, 78-year-old Sylvia Bass, in Bartram Avenue, said she had been woken by the sound of police dogs barking in the street.

"I looked out of my window and saw police cars, ambulances and fire engines," she said.

She said she had heard two "very loud bangs".

"I thought at first it was police getting the front door to open. I don't think it was the front door now, I believe it was gunshots."

Essex Police said in a statement: "Officers were called to an address at Bartram Avenue, Braintree, in the early hours of today where they found the bodies of a woman and a child.

"Officers from the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate are at the scene and inquiries are continuing into the circumstances leading up to this incident."

A spokeswoman for the East of England Ambulance Service (EEAS) said: "EEAS crews were called at 0316 BST to an address in Braintree to reports of serious injuries following a shooting incident.

"A woman and a child were found deceased on scene. A man was taken to hospital with injuries."

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