An 11-year-old girl is fighting for her life after a woman and three of her children were stabbed at a home in north London.
A man, 44, was arrested at the scene on suspicion of attempted murder following the “appalling attack” in Bounds Green, Enfield, on Saturday, Scotland Yard said.
The condition of the woman, in her 30s, and her two girls, both aged under 12, is now stable and non life-threatening after they were treated in hospital for serious stab wounds.
But the third child remains in a critical condition, the force said.
Police were called at 12.13pm to Livingstone Road, a residential street off the North Circular Road.
Detectives said the attacker was known to the victims and they are not hunting anyone else.
One neighbour, who asked not to be named, said: “I heard screaming and then I saw a woman lying down on the ground where the (police) tent is.
“She looked in really bad shape. Then I saw a 10-year-old girl on the floor. She was in very bad shape too. I’m not sure about the others. It’s awful.”
The 51-year-old man said he was listening to the radio when he heard a woman screaming.
He said: “I turned the radio off, then heard the screams separating, like three or four times within a few seconds, like ‘ahh… ahh… ahh’ as though something was happening to her.”
The neighbour said he then saw a young boy running from the house “in a panic”.
He went on: “Then when I looked outside the window, I saw a black man wearing a red baseball cap, wearing a high-vis jacket.
“He was standing at the top of the road. Then a couple of my neighbours were very animated, gesticulating at him and shouting at him.
“The police were there very quickly. They shouted at the guy, ‘don’t move, don’t move, stay here’.
“Then one of the police officers grabbed hold of him.
“The neighbours were talking considerably to the police. They were looking at the ground around him. I don’t know if there was a weapon, or what.
“I knew it was a stabbing. The police looked shocked.”
Detective Sergeant Joe Stewart, of Enfield Criminal Investigation Department (CID), said: “This was an appalling attack on a woman and her young children.
“They have sustained very serious injuries. Our thoughts are with them as they continue to receive vital treatment in hospital.
“Attacks like this on such young people are extremely rare.
“At this early stage of the investigation, we are not looking for anyone else in relation to this incident.
“The attacker was known to the victims. There is no further risk to the public at this time.”
The neighbour said the woman was European and moved into the address about a year ago.
He said: “I hope the woman and her family are okay. They are lovely people. I’ve gotten to know them very well over the past year.”
A young woman, who chose not to be named, was visibly affected by the incident.
She lives across the road from the victims and said: “I didn’t see the mum, but I saw and treated the children. We took a saucepan and water (from our house) to try and treat the wounds. I’m really shaken.”
A crime scene and road closures remain in place around the area.
The suspect remains in a north London police station for questioning.
Anyone with information is asked to call police on 101 quoting CAD3735/06July or Crimestoppers anonymously via 0800 555 111.