Page last updated at 11:32 GMT, Thursday, 2 September 2010 12:32 UK
Oswestry McFall murders a reminder of Osbaston House
Forensic investigators in Hampton Road
Forensic investigators at the scene of the McFall murders in Oswestry

In August 2008 Christopher Foster killed his wife and daughter and later himself at Osbaston House in Maesbrook, near Oswestry.

The terrible crime shocked the local community and among those who condemned the failed businessman was Hugh McFall.

He told friends he could not understand how Christopher Foster could bring himself to take their lives.

But within 18 months, McFall was to kill his wife Sue and daughter Frankie at their home in Hampton Road Oswestry.

In less than two years, the Oswestry area had now seen two men murder their families and kill themselves, with financial pressures playing their part in both cases.

After the murders on 5 February 2010 Hugh McFall went to a lock-up that he rented for his wholesale flower business in nearby St Martins, and hanged himself.

The inquest

The coroner at the inquest in Shrewsbury on Wednesday, 1 September and Thursday, 2 September concluded that Mrs McFall and Frankie McFall had been unlawfully killed, and Mr McFall had killed himself.

The Mid and North West Shropshire Coroner John Ellery said he was satisfied that no one else had been involved in the deaths.

I'd never heard him raise his voice, never seen or heard of anything the slightest bit nasty to Sue or Frankie
Daley Bosher

Daley Bosher, who lived next door to the McFalls, was a close friend of 18-year-old Frankie and recalled talking to Hugh McFall about the events at nearby Osbaston House: "I remember Hugh saying 'How could you do that? How can it get so bad that you could do that to your family?'

"Another thing that makes even less sense is the fact that he was so vocal about saying 'It just doesn't make sense, surely there's other ways out however bad things get?' and then, that."

What made it more difficult to understand at the time was Hugh McFall's apparent love for his family: "I'd never heard him raise his voice, never seen or even heard of anything the slightest bit nasty to Sue or Frankie. He was just the nicest of people."

Daley Bosher's stepfather, BBC Shropshire's James Bond, also remembers having a conversation with Hugh McFall about the Osbaston House murders in which he expressed disgust at what Christopher Foster had done.

Just 18 months later Sue, Frankie and Hugh McFall were dead, shocking local people including Mr Bond: "It makes me think differently of Christopher Foster... People who don't know Hugh McFall think that of him.

Hugh McFall and Daley Bosher
Hugh McFall was a driving instructor who taught Daley Bosher to drive

"He was a lovely fellow. He got himself into a lot of bother, he doesn't know which way to turn. He's painted himself into a corner and something snapped inside him.

"It could happen to you, it could happen to me. Something happened to him. It wasn't Hugh McFall that did what he did. It was another person," Mr Bond added.

Why did it happen?

Why then did Christopher Foster and then Hugh McFall murder their families and then kill themselves?

Professor David Wilson is a criminologist at Birmingham City University .

He believes where they lived was a factor: "Oswestry is a face-to-face society. Those kinds of societies often provide a great deal of support, but if the wheel comes off in this type of society, then everybody knows your business...

"It's not like they are in a big city where they can simply disappear and become anonymous. I think that's one of the underlying trends that we're dealing with in the McFall's case."

Loss of status

Professor Wilson believes "family annihilators" can be possessive: "They are going to destroy everything so you can't have anything, and then they'll take their own lives as well, and often partners and children are seen as being the property of that perpetrator."

However, he does not think this was true of Hugh McFall: "I think in the case of McFall we are dealing with another type of family annihilator who feels it would be difficult for his wife, his children to live in a culture where they previously had status.

"They've previously had wealth, had possessions, they went on foreign holidays. The annihilator feels 'given that I can't give my family any of this any longer' as an act of almost mercy, as they would see it, 'I'll take their lives so as to prevent them having experiences of any hardship'."

Financial worries were at the root of both crimes. Christopher Foster was about to face financial ruin and Hugh McFall had been confronted about discrepancies in the accounts of one of his biggest clients.

Daley Bosher's tattoo
Daley Bosher has a tattoo on his leg as a permanent reminder of Frankie

Despite all that has happened, James Bond still has fond memories of Hugh McFall: "He was a tremendous neighbour, a great friend, a lovely husband and certainly a very doting father.

"To do what he did he must have been absolutely beside himself. By the grace of God there go you or I or anybody. You really don't know what's going to happen to you when you are under severe pressure."

Daley Bosher has a permanent reminder of Frankie: "After it happened I got a tattoo on the back of my leg 'Rest in peace Frankie'... It's something I will never regret. It will always stay with me, as she will."




SEE ALSO
Man beat wife and girl to death
02 Sep 10 |  Shropshire

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