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Monday, October 4, 1999 Published at 21:03 GMT 22:03 UK


Family found dead at home

Police found the bodies of three young children and two adults

Police are trying to establish a motive after a father apparently killed his three young children and his wife before committing suicide at their family home.

West Midlands Police found the bodies of the children and their mother when they forced their way into the house in Sparkhill, Birmingham, on Monday afternoon.

The man, who has not been named, was found hanged on an upstairs landing.

The victims had all been stabbed to death. The woman, who was found in an upstairs bedroom, had also suffered a head injury.

[ image: Police described the deaths as
Police described the deaths as "tragic"
Police said one boy aged two to three, and a girl aged about seven, were found dead in a downstairs kitchen, and a boy aged about nine was discovered in an upstairs front bedroom.

The police had been alerted by a relative who raised the alarm when he could not gain entry to the house.

They believe the incident occurred sometime over the weekend.

Inspector Phil Wright described the scene inside the terraced house as the "worst" he had seen in 20 years' service.

"Officers were faced with a tragic scene," he said.

He said that police were not looking for anybody else in connection with the incident, "but obviously we are looking into the family background and conducting background inquiries."

He said the main line of inquiry centred on the possibility that the man had stabbed his wife and children to death before taking his own life.

Family 'appeared happy'

Neighbours said they were shocked that a seemingly normal couple and their three young children could be found dead in such circumstances.

Bernadette Colfer and her husband Mark lived two doors away from the family.

Mrs Colfer said: "They were a very nice respectable couple and the children were lovely."

Her husband added: "They were lovely little children, a little girl and two boys, and they appeared to be a happy family.

"I can't believe it, I saw the man only on Saturday."

Another neighbour, who declined to be named, said she had babysat twice for the couple's youngest child.

"They were good people who cared about each other. It's a terrible shock," she said.

The neighbour said the couple had worked together in their own cleaning business.

She added: "The little boy was lovely. They were beautiful children and it's terribly sad."

Post mortem examinations are to be held on Tuesday.

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