Neighbours react to Littlehampton stabbings: 'they were covered in blood'

Neighbours have reacted to the stabbings in Littlehampton last night, expressing fear for their safety.

Police are still searching for four men wearing balaclavas and armed with at least one blade who attacked the two male victims in their early twenties at a flat in Manning Road, Littlehampton, just before 5.50pm yesterday evening.

Police officers collecting evidence at the scene of the stabbings in Manning Road, Littlehampton

Police officers collecting evidence at the scene of the stabbings in Manning Road, Littlehampton

The two men were sent to hospital after receiving injuries to their heads.

Claire Mitchell, 38, was relaxing in her flat opposite the property when she saw 'blue lights smothering the street'. She said: "I kept thinking: what on earth is happening? It was so frightening. I haven't seen a police response like that around here before.

"I just hope everything is okay over there. It did look ever so worrying."

A neighbour said she was just going to check on her teenage children at around 5.30pm when she heard 'a lot of noise and shouting' coming from the house.

The scene of the stabbings in Manning Road, Littlehampton, this morning

The scene of the stabbings in Manning Road, Littlehampton, this morning

She said she knew something was wrong: "I felt like it was something terrible; as a mother you just instinctively know it."

The woman went outside and saw the two victims 'absolutely covered in blood', with gashes to their heads, which she described as 'sick' and 'horrible'. She said the attack had been carried out with a meat cleaver, which police confirmed had been reported to them.

She said: "You panic when you see something like that, and fear for your family. I kept edging back to my house, thinking what if they come back and we get caught up in it?"

The incident has made her feel terrified to stay in her home, and she added that she will be keeping all her doors locked from now on.

The mother said she did not wish to be named, out of fear that the attackers may target her and her children. She said: "I just want peace. I want to make sure [the victims] are okay, but I don't want trouble on my doorstep, because I have a family as well that I need to protect."

Ian Merritt, from Manning Road, was 'watching telly' when the police arrived. He said he felt 'shock and horror' as the reality of what was happening sank in: "It was quite frightening really."

The 55-year-old added: "I have rheumatoid arthritis and sciatica; I don't want stuff like this happening on my doorstep. I want a quiet life with neighbours getting on."

Another neighbour was unaware of what was happening until police officers knocked on his door.

He said it did not phase him: "I didn't feel anything. It is common down this road; police are always knocking on doors."

The resident, who had lived down Manning Road for six years, said 'it was not a nice road' when he moved there, but added that Arun District Council 'needed to show some authority' when it came to antisocial behaviour and crime: "The council's attitude is report it to the police, it's a police matter so report it to them. But at the end of the day, it isn't - it's a joint thing."

He did not wish to be named out of fear of retribution, adding: "If they don't come for you, they come for your house."

If you witnessed the incident, call police on 101, quoting CAD reference 886 of 24/01 or report it online.