Two men found stabbed to death in a car may have been trying to escape a gang wielding baseball bats and knives, it emerged Tuesday.
Friends and relatives have held a vigil at the scene in Leytonstone, east London, where 20-year-old Josiah Manful and 21-year-old Aaron Carriere were murdered in the early hours of Saturday.
Residents said they saw a fight break out between a group of men and a few minutes later they found the two victims fatally injured. Paramedics pronounced both men dead at the scene.
A post-mortem revealed that Josiah, who turned 20 a few days ago, died from shock, haemorrhaging and stab wounds to the chest, while Aaron was fatally knifed in the neck.
A fight broke out between 12.45am and 1am, according to one woman who lives in the street.
She said: 'My dad was woken up by all the noise and shouting outside.
'He saw a group of guys fighting, some had baseball bats, but it was dark in the street and hard to see exactly who was doing what.'
One mother-of-three, whose house is near where the men were killed, said her husband had been so badly affected by witnessing the attack he refuses to talk about it.
She said: 'My husband was one of the first people to go outside, he called the ambulance.
'It has come as a big shock. My husband won't talk about what he saw. The whole thing has really upset him.
'It was a terrible thing, we are trying to keep it from the children.'
Another resident of the suburban street said: 'The whole thing has affected the street very badly.
'The last two days have been very, very hard.
'We are scared. We didn't know the men, but it is still very, very sad and we feel so sorry for their families.'
The quiet residential street of terraced houses finally reopened to traffic at around 2.30pm today after police forensics officers completed a fingertip search.
Residents had been forced to stay in their homes for more than 36 hours while detectives carried out their investigation.
Tonight around 25 grieving relatives and friends of the victims sobbed and held each other for comfort as they stood in pouring rain for prayers close to the spot where the pair were found.
Speaking on behalf of the group, a close friend of the families who declined to be named, said: 'We need peace and unity in our community.
'We have a lot of mums from the area here to show solidarity, that we can get through this and be there for their families.
'This has shocked us all deeply, it has affected everyone and we need time to grieve the loss of these two boys.
'We need space. This is our time to remember them.'
Forensic teams investigating the double murder inquiry yesterday combed a 200-yard stretch of the street where the victims were found, scouring drains and gutters as they went.
Friends and relatives paid tribute to Josiah on his heartbroken 26-year-old sister Claudia's Facebook page.
One said: 'My heart is so heavy and I cannot believe you are gone so soon.'
Others took to Twitter to voice their grief. One wrote: 'I can't believe I'm doing this… RIP Josiah Manful still cant believe you're gone. It's still so unreal.'
Floral tributes left at the scene by devastated pals expressed their shock at the murders, with one reading 'nothing but love my brothers, rest in peace'.
Leaving a bouquet a female schoolfriend, who asked to remain anonymous, said: 'Josiah was a normal, nice guy.
'We had known each other since we were small, he was always good. It's too difficult to understand.'
Mourners approached the scene where the men were found and left cards and flowers in tribute to the men.
Three men splashed the floral tributes with brandy before stopping to swap stories about the deceased.
In a written tribute another mourner said: 'Nothing but love my brothers, may you rest in peace. Love Tony.'
One resident said: 'I left and when I came back I saw it. It's horrible and I just heard what happened. I am so sorry – it's terrible.'
A spokesperson for the London Ambulance Service said: 'Every effort was made to resuscitate the two men.
'Despite the best efforts they were pronounced dead at the scene.'
The ambulance service called the police when they found that the men were 'seriously wounded', before they were pronounced dead.
The spokesperson said: 'It is a murder investigation now.'
Scotland Yard confirmed no arrests have been made.