A MURDER investigation has been launched after a three-year-old girl died following an incident at a house in Fordingbridge.

Police were called to the address, a gated bungalow on Whitsbury Road, shortly before 7pm on Thursday evening in response to a report of a concern for welfare.

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Officers attended the Hampshire home along with colleagues from South Central Ambulance Service.

The three-year-old, named locally as Bethan and believed to have lived with her mother Claire, was airlifted to Salisbury District Hospital but pronounced dead later that evening.

She was the daughter of Michael Colebourn, who is chief executive of a marine interiors firm, Trimline, based in Southampton

Residents reported a large police presence throughout the evening, which included the NPAS helicopter. 

On Friday, the house, on a main road close to the junction of Parsonage Park Drive, remained cordoned off under police guard as detectives continued with their investigation.

Neighbours spoke of their shock after learning the new describing events as tragic.

One man, who asked not to be named, told the Daily Echo: “I’d often walk past with my dogs and the family, a young family, would be in the garden having a lovely time.

“The mother would say hello and I would see the little girl out playing in the summer. She used to be out in their garden in a paddling pool.

“This is a real tragedy.”

Another neighbour said: “I’m so sorry to hear about this, we heard the helicopter up last night and knew something was happening.

“I feel so sad for the family. We didn’t really know them, but I’d see them in town now and then to say hello.”

Other residents told the Echo the family had lived at the property for at least a couple of years but they kept themselves to themselves.

Meanwhile, Malcolm Connolly, Mayor of Fordingbridge, said: “This is a tragedy. It is a catastrophe. Words fail me.

“I feel sure I represent everybody in Fordingbridge in sending my sincere condolences to the family. I’m really, really shocked.”

A Hampshire Police spokesman confirmed a 35-year-old woman from Fordingbridge was arrested at the scene on suspicion of murder.