Armed police manhunt after mother-of-four dies


The suspicious death of a mother-of-four has seen police launch a manhunt involving armed officers.

Kent Police are currently carrying out searches throughout the county, including the rail network, after the incident at a property in The Street in Benenden on Thursday.

Neighbour Derek Catlin identified the couple at the property as Caroline and Stuart Andrews who lived in their bungalow called Greenacres with their four children aged from around early to late teens, and their two dogs.

Retired chartered surveyed Mr Catlin, 71, described the family as "normal, very pleasant people".

He said: "I went out at about 4pm to the fish shop up the road, I came back but all was quiet, then the police arrived at about 4.30pm.

"All I saw was an accumulation of police vehicles, probably three police cars and later a detective interviewed my wife and I.

"I have been here for three years. We knew them as neighbours but I feel shock really, because there was nothing to make us think there was anything peculiar."

He believed Mr Andrews was involved in the agricultural industry and that Mrs Andrews was involved with one of the local schools.

"They were very normal, very pleasant people. This makes us all feel very odd. The police say there is nothing to worry about," he said.

"It's an extraordinary thing to happen on your doorstep."

Another local, Karen Callaghan, 49, said: "People here have been saying it's a domestic dispute gone wrong.

"It's very sad for the village. Everyone knows everyone round here. The locals have been here a long time."

A police cordon was in place outside the large property on a sprawling private estate opposite the village green.

The scene is down the road from the exclusive Benenden School and off the village's main street.

A police spokesman said: "The death is being treated as suspicious and efforts are ongoing to trace a man in connection with the incident. The woman and man are known to each other."

As part of the investigation, armed police boarded a train on Thursday night in Gillingham, in the north of the county.

The spokesman said a search was launched after officers were called about the woman's death earlier in the day, at 4.20pm.

Armed police held the train at Gillingham station from around 9pm on Thursday for more than an hour-and-a-half.

Footage shows officers walking down the train carriage holding guns, with one distressed passenger demanding to be let off because he was claustrophobic.

A policeman can be heard saying: "It is a very serious incident and we can't really say what it is about, but you can see we are taking it very seriously."

Other travellers were reportedly not allowed on to the platform while the train was being searched.