Police were last night forced to subdue a 100-strong angry mob who had gathered on a street where a one-month-old baby boy was allegedly raped and battered so badly its heart stopped.
The infant remained in a serious condition today after allegedly suffering multiple horrific injuries in Gravesend, Kent, in one of Britain's worst cases of child abuse.
A group which initially gathered outside the house where the attack allegedly took place started a candlelit vigil, which soon led to damage as emotions ran high.
A man aged 35 and a woman aged 33 were arrested and released on police bail.
One of those involved in the vigil said they had gone to a house where they believed a man arrested in connection with the incident was staying with his family after he was released on police bail.
Those taking part said the group marched round to the house where it is thought the man arrested lived, before objects were thrown at the property and a car on the driveway damaged.
One woman who took part in the vigil said: 'We lit candles and were saying prayers but then someone shouted 'let's go and find the b******s who did this.
'They then stormed round to this other house in a nearby street and started throwing things at the house and damaging a car parked in the driveway.
'The police have been there trying to bring it under control but people are very angry and feelings are running high.
Kent Police today appealed for calm after the group of over 100 gathered for the vigil.
Superintendent Stuart Kehily said it had been a 'highly-charged situation' and community tension was running high.
He appealed for people not to seek retribution while police enquiries continued.
He said: 'Kent Police takes all reports involving injuries to children extremely seriously, and specially trained officers are currently carrying out a number of enquires to establish the circumstances in this case.
'I can understand the anger incidents like this can cause in the community, but I strongly warn people against jumping to early conclusions and seeking some form of retribution.
'Once again I would urge people to remain calm and to let my officers carry out their investigation.'
Teddy bears and hundreds of candles - some still burning - have been left on the pavement outside the house where the baby was allegedly battered.
Touching messages to the baby, who is in a serious but stable condition at a London hospital, have also been placed outside the house in Gravesend, Kent.
One reads: 'Sending you all our love and hope you get better soon. Wishing for you a bright future filled with love and happy days xxxx'.
Another simply says: 'Be strong little one xxxxx' A poem with the title 'The beautiful baby of Gravesend' has also been left on the pavement.
A police patrol car has been parked outside the 1930s-built three-bedroom semi-detached house since the baby was taken to hospital on Thursday morning.
The windows and doors of the property were boarded up in the early hours of Sunday morning after the vigil the previous night.