Mother held over killing of two daughters
A mother was being questioned on suspicion of murder last night after her two teenage daughters were found dead at their village home.
Detectives refused to confirm reports that both schoolgirls had been stabbed. Det Supt Jeff Hill said that post-mortem examinations being conducted today would "help us identify what, if any, weapon was used".
Rekha Kumari-Baker, 39, called a friend just before 8am yesterday who, in turn, alerted police. Officers arrived at the modern, three-bedroom, detached home in a cul-de-sac in Stretham, near Ely, Cambs, and found the bodies of Davina, 16, and Jasmin, 13, in an upstairs bedroom.
Mrs Kumari-Baker was arrested at the house.
The deaths of the two girls followed a period of "family tension", according to one police source.
Mrs Kumari-Baker had separated from her husband David Baker - an IT executive who lives in Cambridge - three years ago.
When the couple split up after living in Girton, Davina had gone to live with her 42-year-old father but had, apparently, returned to her mother`s home on Tuesday evening.
"The parents split up three years ago," said a family friend. "The girls wanted to be together and they weren`t at all happy about being split up. The kids were always well dressed and smart and the mum was devoted to them."
Locals in the trim village, set in farmland just off the A10, said Mrs Kumari-Baker, who was described as a small, smart woman, had done little to immerse herself in village life since moving in.
Abraham Narimissa, 67, whose home backs on to the family`s house, said: "I bumped into them every so often and I saw them coming in and out of the house.
"Yesterday I saw the eldest daughter walking along the street and I saw the mother in her car at about 4pm. There didn`t seem to be any problem and everything seemed fine.
"I don`t spend much time at this house but when I am here I have tried to chat to the lady but she did not want to. I remember asking her what her name was and she wouldn`t respond.
"What has happened makes me feel sick. It`s terrible."
Another neighbour said: "You never really saw them. Nobody round here knows much about them because they very much kept themselves to themselves. The woman always had her curtains drawn.
"Ever since they moved in, the garden has been an absolute mess. Oddly, on Tuesday, the front lawn was cut for only about the second time."
Artur Barreto, 30, who lives near the girls` father in Cambridge, described Davina as an attractive girl.
"She used to hang around with a lot of girls around here in the night-time and they used to come home quite late," he said.
"I have seen her coming and going but never had any real interaction with her.
"She was an attractive girl. I can`t believe what has happened."
Mrs Kumari-Baker`s house remained sealed off by police last night with an old Renault Laguna and a more modern Volvo estate car parked outside.
Det Supt Hill described the deaths as the result of "a tragic set of circumstances". He added that Mrs Kumari-Baker had been taken to Parkside police station in Cambridge and had undergone a medical examination but she was unhurt.
Last night villagers left floral tributes to the two girls outside the house in Stretham.
The girls` father was too upset to comment at his modern redbrick terrace house in Cambridge.