A HIT-and-run driver killed a woman, her daughter, and another child yesterday as they walked home from dancing lessons at a community centre.

The mother of the other child, and her daughter who was being pushed in a buggy, were also struck and left lying on the pavement as the car involved sped off.

A damaged Vauxhall Vectra was found abandoned just yards from the front doors of members of the two families who each lost loved ones.

Those who died in the Macedonia area of Glenrothes, Fife, shortly after 11am were Anne Martin, 39, a carer, of Minto Crescent, and her daughter Ashley. The child, who turned eight just weeks ago, was at Southwood primary school.

Also killed was Ross Sneddon, five, who lived yards from Mrs Martin's parents and who was also at Southwood. Michelle Sneddon, 29, his mother, and his sister Lyta, thrown from the pushchair, were also injured. They were treated at Queen Margaret Hospital in Dunfermline.

Norrie Sneddon, Ross's grandfather, said: ''This is a bad dream. Yesterday we had a family birthday party for Lyta, who will be three tomorrow.'' The 58-year-old electrician said the sight of the damaged Vauxhall Vectra sitting abandoned near the house was very painful for the family.

''Ross's father saw it being parked there through the window and a man making off from it. He was going to phone the police because he felt something was wrong about it, but then he was told what had happened to his family.''

Police sealed off the area and carried out a detailed examination of the street, where grass verges had been torn up and skid marks stretched from Minto Crescent into neighbouring Roxburgh Street.

Inspector Bruce Thomson said the blue Vectra, which was later removed for forensic examination, had mounted the pavement striking and fatally injuring a woman and two children. He confirmed the vehicle did not stop at the scene.

Fife Police refused to indicate whether the driver, who locals claimed had been in an argument several hours before with his girlfriend, had been tested for drink or drugs. A spokesman said: ''Normal practice has been followed.''

A 23-year-old man from the Glenrothes area is expected to appear at Kirkcaldy Sheriff Court. The maximum sentence for causing death by dangerous driving is 10 years, although the Crown can consider prosecution for murder in certain cases.