THE suspected knifeman behind the Jersey massacre had been suicidal over the breakdown of his marriage before the killings of six people including his children, neighbours believe.
Detectives are waiting to question a 30-year-old Polish suspect in hospital over the murders of his wife, their two children and her father.
A family friend and her young child were also understood to be among the victims of the horror attack which has rocked the island.
Neighbours told today how they fended off the “mumbling” attacker with a traffic cone before he turned his knife on himself.
The attack spilled from a flat and into the street yesterday afternoon in an area described by a detective as “one of the safest places in the western world”.
One local, who did not want to be named, said the suspect had been rowing with his wife recently and had tried to take an overdose last month.
Another resident in the same block of flats in St Helier said he saw a man chasing a woman with a knife before then stabbing himself in the chest.
Bryan Ogesa, 24, said he and his two friends used a traffic cone to try to defend themselves as the man then came towards them. As he ran away he saw the body of another man lying in the doorway of the flat with a knife sticking out of his back.
Mr Ogesa, who ran outside after hearing screaming, said: “A man was chasing a woman with a knife, it was quite long.”
He said he had first seen another woman lying on the ground and had gone to help her as he thought she had simply fallen over.
“She was responsive, but just mumbling,” he said. “That’s when the guy started coming towards us.
“He was mumbling as well.”
Another man, who would give only his first name of John, said he had been in his garden nearby and ran to the scene after hearing a woman scream.
“She shouted ‘please help me, please God help me’,” he said.
Mike Bowron, chief officer for Jersey Police, called for local communities to remain “dignified and calm” as he said all the victims, who have not been named, were from Poland and four were from the same family.
“Jersey is an incredibly safe place, one of the safest in the western world, and incidents of this nature are exceptionally rare,” he said in a statement.
“It makes such a tragedy even more difficult for people to come to terms with, and no-one could fail to be affected by the events that unfolded here yesterday.
“Inevitably, perhaps, such an incident will raise tensions locally and I would appeal to everyone to remain calm and dignified and allow my officers to continue with what is a complex, demanding and difficult investigation.”