Essex

Braintree murders: Christine Chambers had called police before

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionBBC's Mike Cartwright: "Police found the body of a young woman and a child inside."

Neighbours of a mother and young girl found dead after a shooting incident in Essex have expressed concerns that police could have prevented the deaths.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) is investigating the incident in Bartram Avenue, Braintree.

The deaths of Christine Chambers, 38, and daughter Shania, two, early on Monday, are being treated as murder.

A neighbour shouted at police: "You knew this was going to happen, you could have stopped it."

Shotgun recovered

A 50-year-old man is under armed guard in hospital.

The man is being treated for gunshot wounds at Broomfield Hospital, Chelmsford, but his injuries are not thought to be life-threatening.

Image caption Christine Chambers and Shania, two, were found dead in the house

Police are not looking for anyone else in connection with the investigation.

Assistant Chief Constable Gary Beautridge told a press conference that a shotgun had been recovered from the scene.

He said a post-mortem examination on Ms Chambers and her daughter would take place later to determine how they died.

They were found dead by police who had been called to the scene at about 0300 BST.

Mr Beautridge paid tribute to the "absolute bravery" of another daughter, aged 10, who escaped out of a back window and alerted family members who contacted the police.

"She showed a great deal of courage and composure in what must have been very difficult circumstances," he said.

'Living in fear'

He said there had been two years of contact between the police and the man and the family.

He added there would now be a "full and fundamental review into the circumstances surrounding this contact".

The IPCC said there was sufficient concern to send two officers to Essex to decide whether to launch a full investigation.

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionAssistant Chief Constable Gary Beautridge on the shootings in Braintree

Another neighbour, who declined to be named, said of Ms Chambers: "She had called the police before on several occasions and there had been a lot of problems in the past.

"Like everybody, she had her ups and downs and we knew there were problems.

"We knew she was worried about what might happen to her and it seemed she was living in fear."

It is believed that Ms Chambers and the man who is under armed guard had been due to appear at Chelmsford County Court on Monday in connection with a family proceedings hearing.

Neighbour Tony Challis said police arrived at the house at 0300 BST and spent around two hours negotiating with the gunman.

Officers could be seen attempting to talk to him through the letter-box.

He added: "It was about 0445 BST when we heard two gunshots from inside the house. We saw officers rushing through the door.

"Everybody was out on the street watching. We couldn't believe what was happening."

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 said Ms Chambers was "lovely, always laughing, a lovely lady", while Shania was "a very happy, bubbly little girl".

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites