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Home   Dartford   News   Article

Man 'shot himself dead' in South Darenth police stand-off after woman stabbed in Esparto Way flat

29 July 2014
by Alex Matthews

A man is believed to have shot himself dead during an armed police-stand off - hours after a woman was stabbed in the same flat.

Police recovered a gun from the home where the 47-year-old man died as negotiators tried to get him out of a building on a housing estate in South Darenth.

Detectives are not treating his death as suspicious or looking for anyone else in connection with it or the woman's injuries in Esparto Way yesterday morning.

Armed police in South Darenth in an area around The Mill housing estate

Armed police in South Darenth in an area around The Mill housing estate

Armed response teams were called after the 45-year-old woman suffered serious knife wounds in an assault at about 10.30am.

After police cordoned off the block for several hours and people were urged to stay inside, police last night confirmed they entered the property to find a man dead inside. Next of kin have been informed.

A police spokesman said today: "Officers attended Esparato Way after a report that a woman had received knife wounds.

"She was taken to hospital, but her injuries are not considered life-threatening.

"Officers contained an address in the street and upon entering found a deceased man.

"A firearm was recovered. His death is not being treated as suspicious and next of kin have been informed.

"An investigation is underway into the full circumstances."

An armed officer at the scene of the South Darenth 'stabbing'

An armed officer at the scene of the South Darenth 'stabbing'

The woman was taken to King's College Hospital, in London, with serious thorax injuries.

An air ambulance had landed in a nearby sports field, but she was taken to hospital by a South East Coast Ambulance Service road ambulance.

A neighbour, who did not wish to be named, said she had heard the victim was stabbed in the back.

Officers had cordoned off an area of about 200 yards surrounding the block of flats, before scaling back the area at 2.30pm when officers had "made contact with the man".

However, they later confirmed in the evening he had been discovered dead when they entered the flat.

An ambulance leaves Esparto Way in South Darenth. Picture Steve Crispe

An ambulance leaves Esparto Way in South Darenth. Picture: Steve Crispe

A woman is understood to have been stabbed at a flat in Esparto Way. Picture Steve Crispe

A woman is understood to have been stabbed at a flat in Esparto Way. Picture: Steve Crispe

Gemma Reeks was in her house behind the Co-op when police cordoned off the area.

The 29-year-old said she saw four police officers with guns in the car park next to a block of flats across the road from her house.
 
She said: "I didn't hear any gunshots, but I'd only been inside for about two hours and the police had been here ages.
 
"There was a police officer standing outside and, when I asked what was going on through the window, he just said they were trying to cordon off the area and that it would be quicker if we stayed in our houses.
 
"It was just bizarre - they were literally pointing guns up at the flat window."
Several police cars guard an entrance to the estate. Picture Steve Crispe

Several police cars guard an entrance to the estate. Picture: Steve Crispe

 
The police operation centered on a smart estate at Esparto Way in South Darenth. Picture Steve Crispe

The police operation centered on a smart estate at Esparto Way in South Darenth. Picture: Steve Crispe

Speaking from inside his home in The Mill in Esparto Way, witness John Hinton described the scene.

The 32-year-old said: "I was just having my breakfast and heard some vehicles outside.

"I looked out and saw some policemen with guns. They have cordoned off the area and they are looking up at the flats.

"I was watching from the window and the officers waved me away." 

Neighbours look out of flats at the police operation. Picture Steve Crispe

Neighbours look out of flats at the police operation. Picture: Steve Crispe

A large police presence at the upmarket estate in South Darenth. Picture Steve Crispe

A large police presence at the upmarket estate in South Darenth. Picture: Steve Crispe

Residents peered out of windows to see what was going on and it is believed members of staff at the Co-op store, which was inside the cordon, were told to stay inside.

Chris Hipwood, 30, who owns a flat in The Mill but does not live there, said: "I was just taking the dog for a walk and you can't really avoid all this, can you?

"I live right on the corner and I saw someone put something out on Twitter. They are not letting anyone in at the moment, apart from police vehicles."

The Mill is a smart development of apartments, which surrounds an old mill tower in rural south Darenth.


 

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