Community in shock over deaths of three young children in Bristol

A family friend of three children who were found dead at a home in Bristol has spoken of her shock at the incident.

Officers were called to a property in the Sea Mills area of the city on Sunday morning by a member of the public concerned for the welfare of the people inside.

Three children – a boy aged seven, a girl of three and a 10-month-old boy, who have not been named by detectives – were found inside the property and pronounced dead at the scene just after 12.40pm on Sunday.

A 42-year-old woman was arrested on suspicion of murder and taken to hospital to be treated for non-life-threatening injuries. She remains in custody.

Detectives have not said whether the children were related to each other or the arrested woman.

Salwa Bashar, a family friend of the three murdered children in Bristol, has spoken of her shock
Salwa Bashar, a family friend of the three murdered children in Bristol, has spoken of her shock (PA)

People had travelled from as far as Newport to visit the church, which is around the corner from where the incident took place.

Salwa Bashar, a family friend from Bristol, said: “I have known this family for over six years now.

“They are part of our community, they’re family friends.

“She and her husband are a very big part of our community, they were just lovely people and were always smiling.

“She’s very friendly and he’s also really friendly.

“I was shocked (when I heard the news) – I didn’t want to believe it, I didn’t want it to be true.

Ahmed Abdelaal, a family friend
Ahmed Abdelaal, a family friend (PA)

“The Sudanese community, not just in Bristol but across the UK, are shocked as well.

“This is something I have never heard of happening before in our community, never in my life.

“It’s beyond unbelievable.”

Ms Bashar said she felt various organisations, including the police, had let down the family, and the community wanted answers over how this happened.

Ahmed Abdelaal, another family friend, said: “We are all shocked. We don’t know why this has happened or what has happened.

“She was an amazing mum, we don’t know what led to this incident.”

Avon and Somerset Police has referred itself to the Independent Office for Police Conduct watchdog over prior contact.

Triple child deaths incident – Bristol
Chief Inspector Vicks Hayward-Melen speaking to the media near the scene in Blaise Walk (Ben Birchall/PA)

She said: “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 inquiries at the scene for the rest of the week and there will be some cordons in place while we do this.”

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