Police in London have shot dead a man who was threatening a woman with a knife.

Residents in a leafy street in Islington, north London, said they woke up at around 1am to hear a volley of gunshots "like fireworks" and saw the area swamped with police cars and armed officers.

Scotland Yard said the 40-year-old man died on his way to hospital – around 20 minutes later.

It is the first fatal shooting by a Metropolitan Police marksman since the death of Mark Duggan in 2011, which sparked London-wide rioting.

Photos taken by neighbours show a middle-aged woman in a pink blanket being comforted by a female police officer as she was led away from the house in Shepperton Road. She was not harmed but was treated for shock.

Police had sent a negotiator to the scene at 11.19pm yesterday following reports that the man had broken into a house. The man and woman involved are believed to have known each other.

Investigators from watchdog the Independent Police Complaints Commission are at the scene of the shooting.

Lyssa Barber, a neighbour, said: "I was woken up to shouts and immediately afterwards to what sounded like four or five bangs. They were gunshots.

"I think I heard five gunshots, but a gunshot in real life doesn't sound like it does on TV. It sounded like loud bangs on a door. Bang, bang, bang. Then I realised, if it's somebody banging on the door, why can I hear it?

"We saw the ambulance and police. There were eight police vehicles I could see from my window, and I saw five armed officers.

"The ambulance arrived as I was looking out of my window. Police came out of the house. We could see someone being led away. I'm fairly sure they were wearing pink and had to be supported by officers."

She said she was shocked such a scene could unfold on her doorstep.

She said: "I think a couple lived in the house. I think they were middle-aged, maybe in their 50s.

"It's happening right outside my house and it's the sort of thing you read about in the papers."

Neighbours said police cordoned off the street last night and were stopping some residents from returning to their homes. Shortly afterwards they heard gunshots.