© PASealed off: The scene in St Helier where six people were stabbed to death yesterday, including three children
Six people, including three children, were murdered in a knife massacre on Jersey yesterday.
The victims, who are members of two Polish families, suffered horrific injuries during the attack.
Two of the children who died were aged five and six, according to neighbours. Two women and a man were also killed.
After having life-saving surgery, a 30-year-old man was arrested in hospital on suspicion of murder. He had apparently tried to kill himself.
The Polish embassy confirmed that the victims were all members of two families.
Neighbours said they lived together in a large, rented Victorian flat in St Helier, the Channel island's capital.
Witness Andre Thorpe said he saw police shouting at a woman leaning from a window ledge as they desperately tried to get into the property.
Mr Thorpe, 50, said: 'As I was heading past, two ambulances and four police cars all came racing towards me. They all jumped out of the cars and were trying to get into one property, with some officers trying to get around the back.
'They were shouting to a woman in a window to let them in. She was saying, "Come in through the door." Within minutes they were running inside and police officers or paramedics came out carrying victims.
'I could see small legs, small enough to be a child, being carried into the back of an ambulance.'
Mr Thorpe added that later he saw one paramedic with her shirt covered in blood.
© PAScene: The stabbings took place at a flat in Victoria Crescent in St Helier at around 3pm yesterday afternoon
Another local resident said he saw a woman's body on the ground covered in blood and then watched as paramedics carried the bodies of two little girls out of the flat.
He said: 'I've never seen so much blood. They were completely limp. The paramedics were crying.
'They were completely drenched in blood, one of the paramedics had to change his clothes.'
He said the girls were blonde and were both wearing dresses. He guessed their ages as one being around eight or nine and the other two or three.
He said the woman was lying on the road, was also covered in blood and appeared lifeless.
The man, who would give only his first name of John, said he had been in his garden nearby and had ran to the scene after hearing a woman scream.
'She shouted "please help me, please God help me",' he said.
He was unable to tell what her accent was.
© PAEye-witnesses saw bodies being brought out of the house that were clearly those of children
Police were alerted to the attack at the property in Victoria Crescent, Upper Midvale Road, shortly after 3pm by a 999 phone call.
Neighbours said the first they knew of the tragedy was when a convoy of police vehicles and ambulances gathered outside.
One elderly woman said the quiet street was locked down by officers who would not let residents outside unaccompanied.
She said: 'The family have been there for some time, several years. That building is split into flats and the landlord is away on holiday.'
Jersey Hospital's emergency department, which is a five-minute drive away, was temporarily closed to other patients as doctors dealt with the victims.
Stewart Gull, 48, Jersey's most senior detective, said police are unsure what lies behind the attack.
He said: 'Clearly this complex investigation is in its very early stages as we try to establish exactly what happened. We are appealing to anyone who may have any information to contact us.
'We are mindful, too, of the impact of any such serious and tragic incident on the local community, and we have police officers in the area to support the investigation and local people.'
Mr Gull went on: 'Jersey is an incredibly safe island, probably one of the safest places in the western world and incidents of this nature are an extremely rare occurrence, particularly in Jersey and across the UK.
© PAInvestigation: A forensic officer walks close to the scene
Jersey's Chief Minister, Senator Terry Le Sueur, said: 'I was deeply saddened and shocked by yesterday's tragic events and I would like to extend my sincerest condolences to the friends and relatives of those involved.
'This is now a police inquiry and we fully support States of Jersey Police officers as they carry out their investigations.
'I have every confidence in the ability and professionalism of our police force in handling this investigation. We must now avoid speculation and allow them to continue with this important work.
'Jersey is a very safe place and events of this terrible nature are very rare. This has greatly shocked the island's community. Many will need support and counselling in the days ahead and we will ensure this is provided.
'I would like to thank emergency services and especially paramedics and hospital staff for their tireless work yesterday.
'I would also like to thank the parish of St Helier for opening the town hall to help the community at this tragic time. It reinforces the importance of the parish at the centre of island life and the strength of our community.'
Last night police were interviewing several witnesses and attempting to trace other relatives to help identify the victims.
Forensic officers were examining the scene, a vehicle had been covered outside and the street remained sealed off.
© PAArmed police stood guard following the killings
The attack took place in a secluded street which lies some way from a main road and which is made up of a row of three-storey Victorian properties.
Mr Gull, who is leading the inquiry, moved to Jersey four months ago after retiring from Suffolk Police.
He was the public face of the investigation that led to the capture of Ipswich serial killer Steve Wright.
Awarded the Queen's Police Medal in 2009, he is one of the UK's most experienced officers in investigating murders and other violent crimes.
States of Jersey Police has around 240 officers, serving 90,000 islanders. It is not under the control of the Home Office.