Page last updated at 10:19 GMT, Friday, 3 October 2008 11:19 UK

Father jailed for child murders

Robert Thomson
Robert Thomson admitted killing two of his children

A Fife father who murdered two of his children in their bedrooms must spend a minimum of 17 years in prison.

Robert Thomson, 50, stabbed his children, Michelle, 25, and Ryan, seven, 26 times at the former family home in Buckhaven on 3 May.

His estranged wife June Thomson, who found her children's bodies, said Thomson was "full of pure evil".

At the High Court in Edinburgh, the judge gave Thomson a life sentence for the "almost unimaginable" crimes.

An earlier court hearing had been told that Thomson had to be treated in hospital after turning the knife on himself after the murders.

The court heard that since March, he had reacted badly to the break-up of his marriage.

Mrs Thomson said outside the court that her estranged husband was an "evil and sick man".

He is an evil, sick, nasty, horrible man who is full of pure evil and badness
June Thomson
Estranged wife

She said: "It wasn't long enough, 17 years, I think that is disgusting, for two beautiful children's lives, it's not long enough.

"He is an evil, sick, nasty, horrible man who is full of pure evil and badness.

"He has given me no answers why he did this.

"He stole their lives away from them."

Judge Lord Menzies said the vulnerable children had been entitled to their father's support and protection.

He said: "I regard this crime as being of the utmost seriousness.

"For any man to kill his child is a ghastly, horrific crime.

"To kill two of your children, each in different ways vulnerable and under your trust, is almost unimaginable."

Suicide note

Supt Alistair McKeen, head of Fife Constabulary's CID, said: "Any murder is tragic for those left behind whatever the circumstances.

"In this case it has been compounded by the very young age of Ryan and Michelle and that they have died at the hands of their own father, the very individual who they would have looked towards to protect them and to see them through their lives."

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

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 his wife not to blame herself.

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

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.

Mrs Thomson went to the house to pick up her children later that day and found them dead in their beds.

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 from Perth Prison.

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

Father admits children's murders
12 Sep 08 |  Edinburgh, East and Fife
Father charged over child murders
06 May 08 |  Edinburgh, East and Fife
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05 May 08 |  Edinburgh, East and Fife
Brother and sister dead in house
04 May 08 |  Edinburgh, East and Fife

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