Hospital nurse and her two children, aged four and six, who were ‘murdered’ at their home in block of flats after recently arriving in UK from India – as man, 52, is quizzed by police.
A woman found dead along with her two children has been identified as a hospital nurse who has only just arrived in Britain from India.
Anju Asok, 35, was killed alongside her two children, son Jeeva, six and daughter Janvi, four, in their family home in Kettering on Thursday morning.
The victims were identified by Northamptonshire Police and are believed to have originally been from Kerala, India.
Police have arrested a 52-year-old man, who was allegedly found ‘covered in blood’, on suspicion of murder. He remains in custody.
Anju was a staff nurse at Kettering General Hospital. MailOnline understands concerned colleagues at the hospital raised the alarm after she failed to show up for her shift on Thursday morning.
When police arrived at the ground floor two-bedroom flat where the family lives in the town, they found a male suspect inside surrounded by the bodies of the 35-year-old mother and her two children.
The family had all sustained ‘serious injuries’. However, a spokeswoman from Northamptonshire Police said that ‘no knives’ were believed to have been used in the killings.
Anju was declared dead at the scene. Her two critically-injured children died shortly after being taken to hospital.
Tributes have since been paid to the ‘committed and compassionate’ NHS worker, who worked in the orthopaedic ward.
Hospital Chief Executive Deborah Needham said: ‘Yesterday we received the extremely upsetting news that one of our colleagues had died in circumstances being investigated by Northamptonshire Police.
‘Anju Asok was an internationally trained nurse who joined our KGH family in 2021 and predominantly worked on Barnwell B – one of our Orthopaedic wards.
‘She was a committed and compassionate staff nurse, who was loved and respected by her dear friends and colleagues.
‘All our thoughts are with her friends and family as they come to terms with this sudden loss.’
The family were from Vaikom with officials in India saying Anju and her family had travelled to England earlier this year while the two children remained with relatives only arriving in Kettering three months ago.
Local village president B Shamsudhin told MailOnline: ‘The families are completely devastated and just don’t understand how this could have happened.
‘They are all crying and it is devastating to see. They have no family in the UK. The family moved there from the Middle East earlier this year and the children followed later.
‘This is a very poor part of the country so their families were glad they found good jobs but they would come back and visit in the holidays.’
Police were scrambled to the family’s home in Petherton Court, Kettering at 11.15am on Thursday, with neighbours describing hearing a ‘commotion’ at the flat.
Armed police reportedly swarmed the area, with neighbours later claiming to see a man ‘covered in bloody’ being taken away from the property by police.
‘He was bundled away to a car and appeared drunk and he was covered in blood. I heard the family were all stabbed so he must have been sitting there for sometime with the bodies,’ one local said.
Another added: ‘I’ve heard the bloke was arrested nearby after a couple of hours and was covered in blood…It’s just absolutely horrific so close to Christmas. Those poor babies hadn’t even started out in life.’
Detective Inspector Simon Barnes, the senior investigating officer, said: ‘We continue to work around the clock in order to progress this investigation and establish the timeline of events which led to these tragic deaths.
‘Forensic post-mortem examinations will be taking place today and tomorrow, and our Neighbourhood Policing Team continue to be on patrol in the Petherton Court area today to offer reassurance to local residents.
‘Whilst we continue to process the scene of these murders, local residents will see an increased police presence and I am grateful for the support of the local community.
‘We remain committed in seeking justice for Anju, Jeeva and Janvi, and although we are not seeking anyone else in connection with their deaths, I would still encourage anyone with any information to contact us, either by calling 101 or by calling Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.’
News of the killings has shocked Kettering with one tearful woman saying: ‘This has devastated the community. We are all shocked and very saddened.
‘Happening just days before Christmas makes it even worse.
‘I would always see the mum and her kids walking out of our close and we’d wave and say hello. The seemed like a very nice family.’
Another neighbour added: ‘We have no idea why this terrible crime was committed and we pray for those affected.’
The man, who declined to be named, said: ‘We have been told by police not to say anything about the family who we knew as neighbours and friends.’
Tributes from mourners have been placed at the entrance to the flats beside a blue and white police taped cordon.
One message read: ‘To a beautiful friend and colleague. You are in our prayers. Love Barnwell family.’
Another states: ‘Words are not enough but thoughts of you will remain in our hearts and minds.’
While another tribute adds: ‘We we’re shocked and devastated by the news. The community will always remember this extremely sad and distressing incident.’
Speaking at the scene on Thursday evening, Kettering Local Policing Area Commander – Superintendent Steve Freeman, of Northamptonshire Police, confirmed the family was living in a ground floor flat.
The man was arrested at around 1.30pm after part of Rockingham Road, which runs next to Petherton Court, was closed to traffic while police, paramedics and two air ambulances, scrambled to the scene.
Forensics teams spent the late morning and afternoon searching the flat on Thursday. Police are still in attendance around the scene this morning.
A Vauxhall Zafira parked outside the flat was also taken away on a flat-bed lorry by police.
Police have insisted that detectives are ‘absolutely determined to get justice’ for the three victims.
One resident who lives opposite the flat where the murders happened said she had left her home and was met with swarms of police – including armed officers – when she returned.
‘We’re all pretty close. It’s such a shock,’ she said.
‘At the time I was looking after my sons dog and he managed to open the doors and ran down the road.
‘When I got back the police and ambulances were here. It’s terrible.
‘There was an helicopter. I had to go down to the centre to get the dog. By the time I was back, there was all this. It all happened in 15 minutes.
She added: ‘There were two armed police I could see. They were all there. I imagine they’d have to with it being a knife or whatever.
‘I thought they were all old people in the flats over there. I might have met the children if they had come over and met the dog at the gate.
‘I mean it’s Christmas. It’s like the lake with the little boys who died.
‘It’s all so sad. It’s a quiet area really. My grandkids are 10 and it hits home.’
A man who works opposite said: ‘Oh it’s so tragic. I saw it on Facebook earlier.
‘A mum and two kids. It’s very sad, very sad.’
Another resident, who lives further down the road, said: ‘We just came for a look because we’ve been out all day.
‘We didn’t even realise it happened until we got back.
‘There’s still a lot of police here now.
‘It’s really, really heartbreaking to hear. It’s no way to go for anyone.’
Another woman said: ‘I thought it was full of old people. It’s terrible, isn’t it. Two bl***y kids and a mother.
‘All the school kids walked past the flat earlier as well as they went to church.
‘It’s ridiculous. We never used to see anything around here, nothing at all.
‘Especially kids. How can anyone kill kids. There’s no telling what time it happened, either.
Superintendent Steve Freeman, said earlier: ‘There are no words to describe how upsetting this incident is but I want to reassure the public that we have a team of detectives working on the case, absolutely determined to get justice for this woman and the two children.
‘The man we have arrested is currently being questioned by detectives in custody however anyone with any information is encouraged to contact us, either by calling 101 or by calling Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.
‘We understand that the local community, and indeed many people across the country, will be shocked by this event.
‘It is a desperately sad incident and I want to be absolutely clear on our unwavering commitment in establishing what has happened here and in seeking justice for this woman and these young children.’
Forensic post-mortem examinations to establish the cause of death will be taking place in the coming days.