Page last updated at 13:05 GMT, Friday, 12 September 2008 14:05 UK

Father admits children's murders

Robert Thomson
Robert Thomson admitted killing two of his children

A father struggling to cope with the break-up of his marriage has admitted murdering two of his children in the former family home.

Robert Thomson, 50, knifed his children Michelle, 25, and Ryan, seven, a total of 26 times on 3 May in Buckhaven, Fife, before trying to kill himself.

The High Court in Edinburgh heard how their mother, June Thomson, discovered her children's blood-soaked bodies.

Thomson will be sentenced next month. He faces life in prison.

Judge Lord Menzies described the crime as "indescribably awful".

The court heard that Thomson had sent another son to a local supermarket, then knifed his son and daughter to death in the empty house.

Court hearing

His son Ross, 20, later returned with his girlfriend, Kay Wallace, and they went to his room to watch a DVD - unaware that the two bodies were lying in their bedrooms.

Thomson, worried by their on-going divorce proceedings, had left a suicide note urging June not to blame herself.

The couple had been married for 27 years. There had been a court hearing the day before the murders.

The Thomsons also have an elder son, 27-year-old Shaun, who had left home to join the Army some time ago.

The court heard that digger driver Thomson had been showing signs of strain since his wife walked out in March.

He was described as being "down" or "withdrawn" and had spoken of suicide to his brother.

She went into Ryan's room, pulled back the bedclothes and saw blood on the left side of his stomach and stab wounds
Advocate depute Kevin McCallum

Advocate depute Kevin McCallum, prosecuting, said: "It is clear from conversations that he had with others, including workmates and relatives, that he was concerned or exercised by the fact that he might lose custody of his children and that he would stand to lose financially from the divorce action."

Mrs Thomson was seeking a 50,000 payoff and 250 a week, the court heard.

Thomson was still living at Muiredge Cottages, Buckhaven, with his son Ross at the time of the murders.

On 3 May, Mrs Thomson had been planning to move into a new flat in Markinch with Ryan and Michelle.

Mrs Thomson had been cleaning her new flat and had taken Ryan and Michelle to their father's house.

At about 1600 BST, Thomson asked Ross to go to Asda for things he said he had forgotten.

When he returned just over an hour later, Thomson told him Ryan and Michelle had left.

Ryan and Michelle Thomson
The brother and sister were found dead at a house in Buckhaven

Mrs Thomson arrived about 1900 BST and went into Michelle's room, where she saw blood on the floor next to the bed where her daughter was lying.

Mrs Thomson found her husband lying in bed with a large knife on the bedside table beside him.

"She went into Ryan's room, pulled back the bedclothes and saw blood on the left side of his stomach and stab wounds," said Mr McCallum.

Ross heard her screaming: "He's killed them."

Thomson, who had slashed both wrists and stuck a knife into his own stomach, was taken to Queen Margaret Hospital, Dunfermline, where he was later interviewed and charged.

The court heard he had left a suicide note which included a message to his estranged wife: "June - too much pain, lies and hurt. Don't blame yourself. I will look after them. Just like your mother, move on alone. Love Rab XXX"

Thomson spent part of his time on remand in the state hospital at Carstairs, but went to court on Friday from Perth Prison.

Defence QC Gordon Jackson, said doctors in Carstairs had found no evidence that Thomson was suffering from any mental illness.

Father charged over child murders
06 May 08 |  Edinburgh, East and Fife
Police reassurance after murders
05 May 08 |  Edinburgh, East and Fife
Brother and sister dead in house
04 May 08 |  Edinburgh, East and Fife

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