UPDATE: Family demand answers, neighbours' shock at gruesome deaths, and full round-up.

The Met have referred themselves to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), after three bodies were discovered at the Erith home of former EastEnders actress Sian Blake.

The tragic discovery was made in the back garden of her family home in Pembroke Road yesterday (January 5).

The police force has now made a voluntary referral to the IPCC, after facing questions about why it took three weeks for a homicide unit to be called - following the disappearance of the 43-year-old and her two sons Zachary Bilal Kent-Blake, eight, and Amon Ben George Kent-Blake, four on Sunday, December 13.

News Shopper:

Amon (left) and Zachary (right) were reported missing with their mum

A police spokesman said: "An initial review has highlighted some potential issues regarding the handling and grading of the missing persons investigation.

"The Directorate of Professional Standards was informed on Monday, 4 January and is working with the investigation team to fully understand the timeline of police interaction with the family."

Miss Blake played Frankie Pierre in EastEnders between 1996 and 1997.

Met Police are searching for Miss Blake's partner and the father of her two children, 48-year-old Arthur Simpson-Kent.

He has not been seen since Wednesday, December 16 - when he spoke to police.

It was after this conversation that Miss Blake and the kids were reported missing, and Mr Simpson-Kent was also reported as a high-risk missing person when police were unable to contact him again.

It has now been reported that he may have fled the country.

A source told the Sun newspaper it is believed he has travelled to Ghana.

A Met Police spokesman confirmed this is "one line of enquiry".

On December 18, officers went back to the actress' home in Erith, and after there was no answer forced their way in.

Scotland Yard could not provide details of how many times in total police had visited, or searched, the house.

On Monday (January 4) when the murder squad took over, the Met's professional standards team was brought in and is looking into how the investigation was handled.

News Shopper:

Sian Blake

Kim Parry, 34, who lives two doors down, told News Shopper she was "shocked" and "scared" by the developments.

She said: "I met her on the street, she was a really nice person.

"I would hear the children playing in the garden, but I never met them or the guy - I thought that was weird."

Speaking of the last time she saw Miss Blake in November, the mum-of-one added: "She was wearing dark glasses. We wondered if she'd been beaten up.

"She waved, we talked for a bit but then she was gone - it was like something had happened.

"I thought had she been crying?"

Miss Blake suffered from motor neurone disease - a fatal, rapidly progressing disease that affects the brain and spinal cord - and was reportedly looking "very frail" before she vanished.

News Shopper:

Police remove a body from the house

Another neighbour, who did not want to be named, said: "She used to bring the boys round and they would play.

"I didn't know anything about EastEnders. She was just a very nice, well spoken lady, a very nice mum.

"It is really upsetting because of her boys. I have had four years seeing those boys come down the stairs and go to the park.

"Now looking at that house is not ever going to be the same."

News Shopper:

Picture: PA

The mum of two added Mr Simpson-Kent was "a man who kept himself to himself", adding the last time she saw Miss Blake was in October when an ambulance parked up outside her house.

She said: "She was very frail. She was unable to hold the plant I bought her.

"At that time she did not know what it was (what condition she had)".

News Shopper:

The house on Pembroke Road

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.

"I would see them most of the time in the summer but I have not seen them for about six weeks."

News Shopper:

Mr Simpson-Kent with Amon

On a Sunday (January 3) Miss Blake's silver/beige Renault Scenic was discovered in Bethnal Green.

Police do not know why the car, registration number SM54 FUO, was parked there or by whom.

News Shopper:

Picture: PA

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.

News Shopper:

Sian Blake (top right), Arthur Simpson-Kent with Amon (top right), Amon (bottom left) and Zachary (bottom right)

"This continues to be a fast moving investigation and our thoughts are with Sian's family at this time.

"Our efforts are continuing to find Arthur Simpson-Kent. Our appeal is to anyone who may know his current whereabouts or can assist us in finding him - we do need to speak to him as a matter of urgency.

"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 13 December, to call us.

"This is now a murder investigation and as such I'd urge anyone who can help our investigation to contact us on 020 8721 4805."

Post-mortem examinations on the bodies will held today (December 6) at Princess Royal University Hospital, Farnborough. 

News Shopper:

Picture: PA

The Met Police's handling of the investigation could be referred to the to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), it has emerged.

A spokesman for Scotland Yard said: "The case has not been referred to the IPCC at this stage.

"However, the Directorate of Professional Standards (DPS) was informed on January 4, and they are now working with the investigation team to fully understand the timeline of interaction with the family."

Scotland Yard refused to comment on reports that Mr Simpson-Kent may have fled to Africa and that Interpol has issued an alert, saying it was "not something we are prepared to discuss at this time".

Can you see what's happening? Email fiona.simpson@london.newsquest.co.uk or call 0208 722 6399.