Page last updated at 17:04 GMT, Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Girl found murdered mother's body

A 10-year-old girl found the bodies of her parents after her father killed his wife and then himself, a Leeds inquest has heard.

Getu Asfaw, 28, strangled his wife Hana Tadesse, also 28, in their home before he took his own life, coroner David Hinchliff told Leeds Coroner's Court.

Mr Asfaw, of Waverley Garth, Beeston, had been unable to accept that his wife planned to leave him, the coroner said.

The child found her parents' bodies on 16 March last year.

The girl said her parents often argued over Ms Tadesse's use of the internet to meet people, and her desire to split up with her husband.

There is definitely no way my mum has killed herself, she wouldn't do that
What child told police officers

She told police she had been woken by shouting and movement during the night, but had gone back to sleep, the inquest heard.

Ms Tadesse was found with a pillow over her face on her bedroom floor.

The girl then went downstairs, where she found a paracetamol packet in the living room before discovering her father hanging in the hallway.

When police arrived the girl, described as "extremely bright" by the coroner, told officers: "There is definitely no way my mum has killed herself, she wouldn't do that. I think that what has happened is my dad killed her, then killed himself."

'Very unhappy'

Forensic pathologist Dr Alfredo Walker confirmed small amounts of paracetamol were found in Mr Asfaw's blood and washing-up liquid was discovered in his stomach, which Mr Hinchliff said suggested he had unsuccessfully attempted suicide prior to the hanging.

Despite the presence of the pillow, Dr Walker said Ms Tadesse's death was caused by strangulation.

Her body was found to have sustained 32 injuries, mainly to the head and neck, some of which were consistent with blunt trauma.

The couple, who both grew up in Ethiopia, had moved first to the Netherlands, where their daughter was born, and then to Leeds.

Ms Tadesse was making "active plans" to leave her husband, and had already visited London to search for a home, a situation the coroner said must have made Mr Asfaw "a very unhappy man."

Mr Hinchliff recorded a verdict of unlawful killing over Ms Tadesse's death, and said Mr Asfaw killed himself "by an act of self-suspension".

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