Page last updated at 16:28 GMT, Monday, 22 September 2008 17:28 UK

Father and daughters found dead

Ellie, Isobel and Kerry Hughes
Ellie, three, and Isobel, one, were named as Kerry Hughes' daughters

A man is believed to have killed his two young daughters, aged one and three, before killing himself at a commercial garage in Southampton.

Police found the bodies of the father, named as David Cass, 33, and the girls at Paynes Road Car Sales, Freemantle, on Sunday evening.

The girls have been named locally as Ellie, three, and 12-month-old Isobel.

Hampshire police believe the man killed his daughters before hanging himself after the break-up of his relationship.

Police are not looking for anyone else in connection with the deaths. It is understood Mr Cass smothered his children before taking his own life.

The mother of the girls was named by neighbours as 20-year-old Kerry Hughes.

'Gone to sleep'

Val Frazier, the mother of Ms Hughes's best friend, said she phoned 999 to alert the police.

Ms Frazier said: "She had a phone call [from Mr Cass] and he apparently said to her, 'The children have gone to sleep forever and now I'm going to hang myself'.

Val Frazier
It just won't go into my head that a man can take his own kids
Val Frazier

"She phoned straight here screaming and I just ran straight around and sorted it out with the police.

"I kept telling her, 'Don't worry, he'll be bringing them back in a minute'.

"It just won't go into my head that a man can take his own kids."

A spokeswoman for Hampshire Constabulary said post-mortem tests would be carried out at the Royal Hampshire County Hospital in Winchester.

She added formal identification of the bodies would not take place until Tuesday at the earliest.

It is believed Mr Cass had been staying in a caravan on the premises on Paynes Road since the break-up of his relationship three weeks ago.

At the scene forensic science officers were examining both the caravan and the inside of the garage, which was cordoned off just before 1900 BST on Sunday.

Had 'a plan'

Mr Cass's manager at the garage, John Martin, told BBC News the MOT tester was devoted to his daughters.

He said: "That's all he talked about in here. He didn't want to live without his girls, I suppose, but I just took it as Dave being a little bit down.

Police at the scene in Freemantle
Police were called to the garage on Sunday evening

"On Saturday he said to me, 'I'm going away, I've got a plan'.

"I said, 'Don't do anything stupid'.

"He said, 'No, I'll be alright, you know me - it's all good fun'."

Paul Timberlake, a friend of Mr Cass, said he was stunned by what had happened.

"He was such a nice bloke, he'd do anything for anyone and was very helpful and he absolutely loved his children."

He added: "Everyone is stunned and no-one can believe it."

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