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Last Updated: Monday, 29 August 2005, 05:09 GMT 06:09 UK
Three men held over party killing
scene of the shooting
The shooting took place at a community centre
Police are questioning three men after a woman was shot dead while cradling a baby at a christening party.

She was shot after three men in hooded tops gatecrashed the evening event for which about 100 guests were gathered in a hall in Peckham, south London.

The Sierra Leone-born victim, in her 30s, later died in hospital. The child, not related to the woman, was unharmed.

A post-mortem examination showed the woman had died from a single gunshot wound to the head.

The shooting happened at about 2000 BST on Saturday on Peckham's Wood Dene Estate, and is being investigated by Operation Trident - the Metropolitan Police unit which tackles gun crime within the black community.

The gang of men stole guests' handbags, mobile phones and wine before fleeing the scene on foot.

Trident's Detective Superintendent Hanstock said it was a "shocking incident".

"Our thoughts are with the family and friends of the victim. We must find the men who did this. We urge anyone with information to contact us," he said.

Police said the victim did not live in the Peckham area but was there as a friend of people who were holding the party.

Map showing the Wood Dene Estate
Officers said they were keeping an open mind over the motive for the shooting.

Detective Chief Inspector Ashley Sharp said: "There were a number of shots fired at random in a spray pattern during the incident.

"So far we have no information that this woman was singled out for any particular reason."

He added: "Forensic teams are conducting fingertip searches of the scene and police are involved in local enquiries.

"We have possession of CCTV tapes, which we are going through now."


Eyewitness Stacey, who preferred not to give her surname, said: "Now everyone on the estate is scared to go out. There are old people here who are terrified.

"Who knows if these people will come back - where will the bullets go next?

"To be honest, Saturday's shooting just isn't a surprise, there is so much trouble round here - there's been shootings, stabbings and rapes."

Vicky Idiegbe, from the Wood Dene Project Community Group, said: "Many of the flats are becoming derelict and are now being filled up by squatters and junkies, the lifts don't work and people are scared to walk around at night.

"It's got to the point now where at night I just lock myself in the flat and am too terrified to go out."

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