A MURDER investigation has been launched after a woman was believed to have been stabbed to death in a street.
The woman, named locally as Chez, was attacked near her home in Rawtenstall, at around 3pm, police said.
Yesterday, a large forensic tent had been erected in Fallbarn Crescent, where the 40-year-old is believed to have suffered her fatal injuries.
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Last night a 41-year-old Manchester man was in custody after being arrested on suspicion of murder.
Neighbours said they had heard a row between a man and a woman earlier at a house in Hardman Avenue.
Witnesses then described how the woman was chased and attacked outside a house in nearby Fallbarn Crescent.
One man said he thought the victim was being punched until he saw a man clutching a kitchen knife.
He said: “She was knelt on the floor. It looked like he was punching her but he was stabbing her in the face.
“She was covered in blood.”
Another neighbour said: “The police arrived when he was still stabbing her."
A man was arrested in a nearby garden and he was sprayed with CS gas.
Derek Taylor was driving home when he saw the aftermath of the incident, which has left the tight-knit community shocked.
The 39-year-old said: “I was coming up her from a job at around 3.10pm and there was a lot of police here.
“I saw a lady lying on the footpath and paramedics were trying to resuscitate her.
“There are a lot of rumours flying around, but the whole thing is an outrage and very sad.”
An air ambulance helicopter landed in the street whilst paramedics tried to revive the woman.
But after she was pronounced dead at the scene. Last night, a forensic team was working in Fallbarn Crescent and areas of both roads had been cordoned off.
Dozens of residents gathered outside the cordons as officers wearing face masks worked inside the tent, which was illuminated as darkness fell.
A uniformed officer also stood guard outside a house in Hardman Avenue while crime scene investigators wearing white coveralls took photographs of the scene.
A police spokesman said: “Officers attended at about 3pm today to reports that a 40 year old woman had suffered injuries on Hardman Avenue in the town. Sadly she died at the scene.
“The woman’s family have been informed and are being offered support by specially trained officers.
“Extra patrols have been put on in the area to offer some reassurance to the local community.
“An investigation has been launched by the constabulary’s force major investigation team and is in the early stages.”