MURDER squad detectives hunting for the missing former EastEnders actress Sian Blake and her two children have found three bodies in the garden of her London home.
Shocked neighbours of Ms Blake, 43, who played Frankie Pierre in the hit soap, broke down in tears after the discovery in the garden of her home in Erith, Kent, on Tuesday.
Murder squad detectives are still hunting for Ms Blake’s partner, Arthur Simpson-Kent, who vanished after he was interviewed by police about the family’s disappearance.
Mr Simpson-Kent is decsribed as a “high risk” missing person and police are appealing for anyone who knows his whereabouts to contact them.
Ms Blake , who starred in the BBC soap in the 1990s, went missing along with her two young sons, Zachary, eight, and four-year-old Amon, shortly before Christmas.
Detective Superintendent Paul Monk, from the Homicide and Major Crime Command said: “Sadly, as part of a thorough forensic search we are carrying out at the family’s home in Erith, we recovered three bodies from the garden of the property.
“As yet, we have not formally identified the bodies but this is of course a significant development and Sian’s family have been informed.
“This continues to be a fast moving investigation and our thoughts are with Sian’s family at this time.
“We continue to appeal for any information that could help us trace Sian’s partner Arthur Simpson-Kent. If anyone has any information about where he is or his movements since December 16 then please get in touch with us.
“I would also like to ask anyone who may have seen Sian and her children, or who may have information about their movements since the last confirmed sighting on December 13, to call us.”
Scotland Yard is now facing questions over why it took three weeks for a homicide team to be called in and the bodies found.
The force’s professional standards team is looking at the way the investigation was handled.
Post-mortem examinations will be carried out on Wednesday on the bodies, which have yet to be formally identified.
Ms Blake, 43, who played Frankie Pierre in the hit soap, vanished with her sons Zachary, eight, and Amon, four, in east London on December 13.
Three days later, police interviewed her partner, the children’s father Arthur Simpson-Kent, 48, at the family’s home in Erith, Kent, and he also disappeared.
Forensic teams were seen searching the property today and neighbours said police had been at the house for several days.
Former actress Ms Blake had motor neurone disease – a fatal, rapidly progressing disease that affects the brain and spinal cord – and was reportedly looking “very frail” before she vanished.
She and her children were last seen in Waltham Forest, east London, on December 13, and her silver-beige Renault Scenic was found in Calvert Avenue in Bethnal Green, east London, on January 3, but it is not known who parked it there.
A family member reported Ms Blake and her children missing on December 16 and two days later a missing persons inquiry was launched, but not classed as high risk.
The same day, December 18, officers went back to the Erith home, and forced their way in when there was no answer at the property. Scotland Yard could not provide details of how many other times police had searched or visited the house.
The investigation was classed as high risk at some point after Christmas, and on Monday the murder squad took over the inquiry and the Met’s professional standards team was brought in.
A Scotland Yard spokesman said: “The Directorate of Professional Standards was informed on January 4 and is working with the investigation team to fully understand the timeline of police interaction with the family.”
Next-door neighbour Sam Sanni-Alashe was in tears over the news.
He said: “I am in shock, I can’t talk. It is really hurtful. I know the lady. I see the children playing at the back. I say hello all the time. We are not close but she was a very happy woman.
“This is a disaster and it is awful for the community. I can see everything in the garden but these last few days I have chosen not to look.
“When my son finds out, he will be terrified.”
Another neighbour Hannah Cutting, 18, said: “I would see the kids playing at the window, then we were worried when police were there 24/7.
“It’s awful just to think that something can happen on your doorstep and you see people and you have no idea what’s going on.”
Two body bags have been removed from the house.
A neighbour, who did not wish to be named, said the discovery of three bodies had left her feeling “afraid”.
She said: “I used to see her walking up and down and we would greet each other.
“She was a happy woman. I used to see her and her kids playing in the garden. I never saw the man.”