- Neighbour found the woman, named Sutha Karunanantham, ‘covered in blood’
- Those who rushed to the scene after hearing screams found a bread knife nearby
- Police and paramedics rushed to the flat in Mitcham, south London, yesterday
- Little Sayagi Karunanantham was pronounced dead after being flown to hospital
- Her mother remains in a critical condition after undergoing a five-hour operation
A murder investigation has been launched after a ‘sweet’ five-year-old girl was allegedly killed by her ‘severely depressed’ mother who then tried take her own life.
Little Sayagi Karunanantham was found ‘lifeless’ by neighbours at her home in Mitcham, south London yesterday with her mother Sutha Karunanantham, 35, in a pool of blood.
The neighbours had rushed to the flat on Tuesday afternoon when they heard screaming, and have said they found a ‘big bread knife’ at the scene.
Locals have spoken of their shock after the pair, pictured for the first time today, were flown to hospital following an incident inside the flat in Monarch Parade.
The child was pronounced dead shortly after arriving while the woman remains in a critical condition after undergoing a five-hour operation. +14
Sayagi Karunanantham, five, was stabbed to death in her South London home last night while her mother, 35, named locally as Sutha Karunanantham, was in a critical condition in hospital+14
Met Police have launched a murder investigation into the incident, saying all parties involved were known to each other and are not looking for anyone else in connection with the incident
Forensic teams and uniformed officers were seen outside the property in Mitcham this morning.
Floral tributes in memory of the five-year-old girl, were left tied to railings outside the flat
The Metropolitan Police said it believes that all parties involved were known to each other and is currently not looking for anyone else in connection with the incident.
Detective Chief Inspector Justin Howick said: ‘This is a tragic incident and we are working very hard to fully understand what has happened.
‘Whilst I know the effects of this incident will, understandably, shock and sadden the local community, please be reassured that we are not seeking anyone else in connection with Sayagi’s death and there is no cause for the community to be fearful or alarmed.
‘I would like to hear from anyone who feels they may have information that could assist our investigation.’
NHS worker and neighbour Elsa Gonzales, 47, described hearing screaming and crying coming from the property, where a family-of-four from Sri Lanka lived.
When she arrived with her sister – Riza Marfilla, 55 – she discovered the woman wearing only her underwear.
She said: ‘A young boy was crying and screaming. I went next door and saw the lady on the floor covered in blood. She had what looked like a knife wound in her stomach.+14
A police cordon remains in force at the scene of the incident, which left a child dead and a woman in a critical condition+14
Sayagi Karunanantham, pictured left and night, was pronounced dead on Tuesday and described by neighbours as ‘such a good girl’
‘She killed her daughter and then she tried to kill herself. That’s what I believe the boy said.’
‘I was on the phone to 999 and I tried to see if the young girl was likely to survive but she looked lifeless – there was so much blood everywhere.
‘She had a cut to her throat and I thought that must be it for her, the poor sweet baby. My sister saw a knife, a big bread knife, by the side of the child,’ Gonzales said.
Scotland Yard said it has not made any arrests. They are not looking for anyone else in connection with the incident.
Little Sayagi was attending a local Tamil class to learn her parent’s language, sources close to the family told MailOnline.
Her father, Sivanantham Karunanantham, known as Suganthan, works in a local Sainsbury’s supermarket and received a call while on shift informing him of the tragedy.
He is being comforted by friends and family today.
Sources close to him said his wife had undergone an operation lasting five hours for a knife wound to her stomach and faced further surgery.
Ms Gonzales said she had heard the mother was ‘severely depressed’ and had also been suffering from painful stomach ulcers before the incident and was due to have an endoscopy yesterday.+14
NHS worker and neighbour Elsa Gonzales, 47, pictured, described hearing screaming and crying coming from the flat in Monarch Parade
The Sri Lankan couple are thought to have lived at the address for eight years and were said to be polite and friendly.
Mrs Gonzales said: ‘The husband would ask me for medical advice as I work in healthcare.
‘She was a lovely, friendly lady though. I never heard her angry or upset. And the little girl was exceptionally bright and cheeky and would help her parents communicate with people in English.
‘She was playing on her bike just two days ago, very happy and smiling. My heart is broken.’
Flowers were tied to railings outside the flat yesterday afternoon as a forensics team combed through the property behind a police cordon. +14
A forensics team were seen entering the flat in Mitcham today while a uniformed police officer stood guard outside the first floor property+14
A pool of blood could be seen today outside the property in Monarch Parade, where the girl and woman were found+14
Wahe Guna, 27, who works at the Kwik Mart shop below the flat in Monarch Parade, pictured, said the family were regular customers+14
Blood was seen on the doorstep of the property in Mitcham this morning, as police continue to investigate
Paying tribute to the young girl, Ms Gonzales said: ‘She’s so smart and so tough. She was always fighting with the boys when she played.
‘She’s always smiling at me. She was such a good girl. My heart breaks for her.’
Another neighbour Riza Marfilla, 55, said: ‘It’s so sad. She likes Bruno – my dog. Whenever she would see him, she would be shoutIng ‘Bruno! Bruno!’.
‘She is such a sweet child.’
A forensics team were seen entering the flat today while a uniformed police officer stood guard outside the first floor property.
Superintendent Richard Smith said: ‘Today a family are grieving for their little girl, and we are doing everything we can to support them.
‘This terrible incident has left a family distraught and the local community in shock.
‘I would like to pay tribute to the police officers and ambulance service colleagues who responded to this frightening situation and thank them for working so hard to try and save Sayagi. She will remain in our thoughts.’
One witness saw the father, a worker at Sainsbury’s, being spoken to by police.
Wahe Guna, 27, who works at the Kwik Mart shop below the flat in Monarch Parade, said the family were regular customers.Woman and child airlifted to hospital after ‘incident’ in Mitcham+14
The Metropolitan Police said they will be releasing further information about the incident later
He said: ‘He comes everyday in the shop. In the last two or three days I didn’t see him. His daughter and his son are of good character. I’m so sad to think she is gone.
‘They’re a good family. Everyday he comes in to spend a few pounds. Some days I give the children chocolates.
‘Yesterday I didn’t see them. I didn’t see them on Monday or Tuesday.’
He added: ‘Some people said there were family problems. I’ve heard people say the mother is depressed.
‘At around 4pm yesterday, there was a helicopter and police blocked the road.Metropolitan Police cordon off London Road in Mitcham
‘Last Monday he was all smiles. She talked and said, how are you? I don’t know what could have happened.’
The road outside the property, which is on a parade of shops near Mitcham Library, was closed for several hours last night.
Witnesses filmed the police response and the helicopter taking the two victims to hospital.
Siobhain McDonagh, the Labour MP for Mitcham and Morden, tweeted: ‘Truly tragic events in Mitcham over the last 2 days. My sincere condolences to family & friends.
‘My thoughts are also with neighbours & residents who have witnessed such tragedy.’
A spokesman for Scotland Yard said: ‘Officers and London Ambulance Service attended and a woman and a child were inside a property suffering injuries.
‘The woman, aged 35, has been taken to hospital where her injuries are deemed life-threatening.’
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