Page last updated at 17:35 GMT, Thursday, 13 November 2008

Baby and toddler killed at house

Delayno (left) and Romario Mullings-Sewell
The bodies of the two boys were found on Wednesday night

A three-month-old baby and his brother, aged two, have been found stabbed to death at a property in Manchester.

Delayno and Romario Mullings-Sewell were discovered in Cheetham Hill on Wednesday evening after concerns were raised with police.

Their 21-year-old mother was held on suspicion of murder and has now been sectioned under the Mental Health Act.

Police visited the house a few hours before finding the children, who were known to Manchester social services.

BBC correspondent Chris Buckler said police were called at about 1320 GMT by a GP who raised concerns for the family's welfare after being visited by the mother.

Greater Manchester Police (GMP) officers arrived at the house on Kilmington Drive at about 1450 GMT after being given five separate addresses, he added.

There were no warning signs at all
Maria Cunnigham, childminder

There was no answer, so officers searched the nearby area and made significant efforts to trace the residents, a police spokesman said.

Speaking on Thursday, Det Supt Shaun Donnellan said police returned to the property later at about 1745 GMT and forced their way in and found the bodies.

He said both boys had been stabbed once in the abdomen. Their mother was arrested a short time later around the corner from the house.

"I'd ask you all to remember that this is a tragedy. There are two children dead who would appear to be victims of a fatal attack," he said.

"There is a mother in custody who has been detained under the Mental Health Act."

Det Supt Shaun Donnellan talks to reporters about the deaths

The family paid tribute to the "beautiful, innocent" boys in a statement released through Greater Manchester Police.

They said: "We, as a family, are struggling to come to terms with the tragic events of yesterday afternoon and we cannot even begin to understand what happened.

"We hope that wherever the boys have gone to, they are at peace."

Their father, who lived at a different address, is being given counselling, as are the officers who found the bodies.

A childminder, who last looked after the boys on 15 October, spoke of them as "lovely" and of their mother as a "very good mother".

Maria Cunnigham told the BBC: "There were no warning signs. The children were beautiful. Very loving and cuddly. Very smart, very clean. There were no warning signs at all."

IPCC investigation

As more information about events leading up to the deaths emerged on Thursday afternoon, Manchester City Council confirmed the family were known to its Children's Services department.

But the boys were not - or had ever been - on the child protection register.

Pauline Newman, Director of Children's Services, said: "This is an appalling tragedy and we offer our sincere condolences to the family and family friends of these two young children.

"Children's Social Care were not currently involved with the family, however in recent months the family were in receipt of community support services including nursery and childminding provision, whilst mother was attending higher education classes.

Kilmington Drive in Cheetham Hill
The two boys were found after concerns were raised for their welfare

"I am currently involved with my senior staff team in urgently considering the nature, extent, and appropriateness of Children's Services' involvement with the family."

Mrs Newman said because the family were known to them there would now be a multi-agency serious case review, chaired independently.

Post-mortem examinations were being carried out on Thursday.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) is assessing the police response to the phone calls they received before the boys were killed.

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