Mass slaying on remote U.K. island baffles cops

British forensic police attend the scene after six people were killed in a knife attack, Sunday Aug. 14, 2011, in St Helier, Jersey, England. A man is reported to have been arrested Sunday on suspicion of fatally stabbing six people, including two young children, two men and two women, on the British island of Jersey, police said, and unidentified neighbors declared that the incident may have involved members of the same family. PA,AP Photo / Ian Le Sueur

LONDON - A man was arrested Sunday on suspicion of stabbing six people to death, including three children, on the British island of Jersey in what was the deadliest crime in the community's living memory, police said.

Neighbors said the victims were members of the same family. The dead, all Jersey residents, were a man, two women and three children, police said.

Some were stabbed inside their home, others outside the property, which is located on a relatively secluded side street. The 30-year-old suspect, who was not identified, also sustained unspecified injuries that were not life-threatening. Police said they were questioning him at his hospital bed.

Neighbors said they thought at least some of the victims were Polish. One witness, Andre Thorpe, said he saw police running around the property trying to gain access, then paramedics carrying a bloodied child from the scene.

Channel Island map
Map of the Channel Islands between France and the U.K.
Wikimedia Commons/CBS News

Police Det. Superintendent Stewart Gull, who is leading the investigation, said his officers had yet to establish the victims' ages and the circumstances of the attack. He said the crime had shocked everyone.

"It goes without saying that when you are dealing with multiple deaths, of men and women and, in particular young children, you would be inhuman not to be shaken yourself," he said.

Violent crime is unusual and murder rare on Jersey, a British island dependency 14 miles (22 kilometers) west of France's Normandy peninsula. The largest of Britain's Channel Islands has a police force of 236 officers to protect about 92,500 residents, many of them tax exiles.

"Jersey is an incredibly safe island, probably one of the safest places in the Western world," Gull said.

Several police and Jersey media officials said they couldn't recall the last murder on the island. An Associated Press search found it occurred in March 2004, when a 19-year-old man originally from Northern Ireland tried to rape, then kicked to death, a 35-year-old nurse outside her home. It was the first murder in Jersey since the 1970s.

In their 2010 annual report, the Jersey police recorded 4,554 crimes, mostly theft and fraud. There were 83 physical assaults, 14 rapes and one kidnapping. No businesses were robbed. Three people were killed and 65 injured in car accidents.

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