TERRIFIED residents say they have been left “on edge and scared about opening the door” after police launched a murder probe near their homes.

Essex Police and ambulance teams were called to Whitehouse Meadows at around 9pm on Tuesday following a report of an assault.

Echo: Attending - police car entering Whitehouse Meadows, EastwoodAttending - police car entering Whitehouse Meadows, Eastwood (Image: Newsquest)

When at the scene, they found a woman, who has not been named and is in her 50s, had sustained serious injuries but despite best efforts to save her life, she was declared dead.

Despite a 54-year-old man being arrested on suspicion of murder and enquires showing “no wider threat to the community”, residents are still living in shock and fear about opening the door or going out.

Echo: Scene - officers by the cordonScene - officers by the cordon (Image: Newsquest)

One neighbour said: “I’ve lived here for 26 years, and it’s been nothing but peaceful.

“So, when I heard raring sirens, saw blue lights flashing everywhere and found out what happened, I was in shock because you don’t expect it to happen on your doorstep.

“I feel on edge and scared about opening the door.

“I last saw the woman about two weeks ago in the street, and she was always so lovely and never did anything wrong.

“I’m devastated to hear she has died, and my thoughts are with her family at this awful time.”

Another resident, who moved in a month ago, also echoed shock about it happening so close to home.

Whitehouse Meadows is located in St Laurence ward, and two of its Labour councillors have paid tribute.

Echo: Paying tribute - Daniel CowanPaying tribute - Daniel Cowan (Image: Southend Council)

Echo: Paying tribute - Lydia HydePaying tribute - Lydia Hyde (Image: Southend Council)

Daniel Cowan said: “I’m devastated to hear of this tragic incident.

“This is shocking news for our community, and my heart goes out to her loved ones.

“I hope anyone with information is able to come forward to support the investigation and that justice prevails.”

Lydia Hyde added: “It’s truly tragic news to hear of the death of one of our residents, and the local close-knit community here is in deep shock.

“My thoughts are with her family, and I hope the police investigation is thorough but efficient, so they can be provided answers to the worst of all questions in their minds any of us can ever have.”