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Woman and Toddler Shot Dead in Braintree

Essex Police LogoAn inquiry into the murder of a mother and her 2-year-old toddler was launched on Monday after the pair was found shot dead in their home. The bodies of 38-year-old Christine Chambers and Shania were found hours before they were due to appear at a custody hearing that would decide the little girl’s future. The HM Courts Service has confirmed to media that Chambers was due to appear at Chelmsford Country Court at 2pm for a 30-minute hearing with David Oakes, the little girl’s father. She is understood to have been in a bitter battle in court with him.

Chambers had an older daughter, Chelsea (who is either 8 or 10; reports aren’t clear), who was able to escape the house through a window just moments before the shooting. She went to her father’s home, 50-year-old Ian Flitt, and woke him up by screaming, ‘He has gone mad with a gun.’

Flitt is reported saying that Chambers told Chelsea to run and save herself, which is what the little girl did. She ran through the streets in the dark to escape the house and knocked on his door. He had no idea what was happening and thought she just ran away. He asked her what she was doing there, and that’s when she started screaming that ‘he’ was in the house with a gun.

Police arrived at the Chambers home around 5am with dog handling teams. They found the bodies of the mother and Shania after going inside, along with a man with gunshot wounds. He was arrested and taken to Broomfield Hospital, where he was treated for non-life-threatening injuries. Police found a shotgun at the house later and say they aren’t looking for anyone else in connection with the deaths.

Two investigators were sent to the scene on Monday by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) amid claims that local officers knew about the alleged volatile relationship between Chambers and Oakes. Neighbours were in the streets after the incident shouting at police that they knew this was going to happen and could have done something to stop it. They say Chambers had called the police many times before, and there were a lot of problems between the couple in the past. Chambers was worried about what could happen to her, they added, noting that she looked as though she was living in fear.

An IPCC spokesman said that they were informed of the case and 2 investigators were sent to Braintree. They will gather more information and evaluate the available evidence before they decide if further investigation is warranted or not. Aside from the IPCC, Essex Police say they have now launched a double murder investigation. A spokesman called the incident horrible and tragic. The Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate was also at the scene investigating what happened to lead to the killings.



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