The two women who were killed in separate attacks in the North Yorkshire town of Redcar, just minutes apart, have been named by police as Lynne Freeman, 46, and Jodie Betteridge, 30.
A 34-year-old man arrested in connection with the women’s murders shortly after the incident are still being quizzed by detectives, after they were granted extra time to question the suspect by local magistrates.
A spokesman for Cleveland Police said: “Police attended Teesside Magistrates’ Court last night where magistrates authorised an extension of his detention.
“This allows the investigation team to detain the man for a further period of time while they continue their inquiries.
“We are aware that two women have been named locally as the victims and, while formal identification has not yet taken place, we believe the victims are 46-year-old Lynne Freeman and 30-year-old Jodie Betteridge.
“Their families are receiving appropriate support from specially trained officers.”
The spokesman said that a post mortem examination had taken place of one of the victims and the post mortem examination for the other woman was due to take place later.
Officers began their investigations after they received a report that a woman had been seriously injured at an address in Mapleton Crescent, Redcar, at 8.45pm on Wednesday evening.
Just seven minutes later, at 8.52pm, a second report was received from a member of the public reporting that a woman was being violently assaulted in Byland Close.
Paying tribute to Miss Betteridge, one of her neighbours Theresa Largan, 51, said she was inseparable from her children.
“Jodie lived for her kids,” she said. “I don’t think I ever saw her on her own, she always had the tribe with her. I just want the family to know that we are all thinking of her and them.”
A floral tribute for Miss Betteridge was left near the scene at Byland Close. The flowers dedicated to her carried a message which read “thoughts are with your beautiful children”.
Further tributes were left at nearby Greengates Primary School.
A 29-year-old man, who asked to be identified only as Danny, said he had known Miss Betteridge since they were teenagers, and described his friend as a “lovely girl”.
“She was always smiley, she loved her kids - she lived for them. It is absolutely devastating what has happened, I can’t get my head around it,” he said.
“All our friends are absolutely devastated. We are besides ourselves. We can’t believe this has happened. She was special. Everyone she met, she put a smile on their face. No one ever had a bad word to say about her.”
At the other crime scene in Mapleton Crescent, where a police cordon remained in place, neighbours said that Ms Freeman lived alone in the semi-detached bungalow.
Cleveland Police’s Temporary Detective Superintendent Tariq Ali said on Thursday: “We are treating both incidents as murder inquiries and specially trained family liaison officers have been assigned to the victims’ families who are understandably shocked and saddened by these tragic events.”
He added: “The families of both women have requested some privacy whilst they come to terms with these shocking events. Our thoughts are with both families at this time.”