December 2, 2020

Father kills family then himself

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The Smith Family

A father stabbed his wife and two young sons before killing himself, police believe.

The bodies of Richard Smith, 37, wife Clair, 36, and their sons Ben, nine, and 13-month-old Aaron, were found lying next to each other on a double bed in the main bedroom of the family’s detached home in, Pudsey, Yorkshire, UK, on Sunday.

It is believed Mrs Smith and the boys died in the early hours of Saturday, hours after the family had attended a cricket
club function.

Detectives yesterday confirmed Mr Smith, who is thought to have worked for a shopfitting company, died from smoke inhalation. It is thought he had started a fire in the bedroom.

Mrs Smith, an accounts manager with a diesel company in Pudsey, and her baby son Aaron both died from a single stab wound to the chest.

Ben was also stabbed in the chest but died from suffocation, before the fire broke out.

Detective Superintendent Paul Taylor, of West Yorkshire Police’s Homicide and Major Enquiry Team, said: “Because of the causes of death, and other physical evidence found within the scene, I can confirm we are not looking for anybody else in connection with this incident.”

Det Supt Taylor said he could not comment on the motive for the deaths. “That will be looked at over the next few weeks and months, and it will be for the coroner to decide why.”

He said the last positive sighting of the family had been on Friday evening when they attended a function at Pudsey St Lawrence Cricket Club, close to their home. They left the club in a taxi at about 11pm.

Det Supt Taylor said Ben had not opened his Advent calendar on Saturday morning, and it was believed something had happened on the Friday or the early hours of Saturday. He said officers were speaking to people and taking statements from people who had been at the function, but there had been no incident involving the family at the cricket club.

He said detectives would be trying to establish the state of mind of Mr Smith, or anybody else.

Det Supt Taylor added: “I have met Richard and Clair’s families. We owe it to them to do a thorough investigation.”

He said members of the family called police after not seeing the Smiths for a couple of days. Family members were the first into the house.

All four bodies were found on the bed. There was no evidence of a struggle.

It was difficult to tell the seat of the fire, but Mr Smith appeared to have choked to death on the fumes.

Det Supt Taylor added: “Our role is to now establish the facts leading up to the tragic event that has ended the lives of four people and a seemingly happy family.

Mrs Smith’s parents, Alan and Norma Robinson, said: “Clair was an exceptional person, loving and caring to everyone. She was a loving mum, her children were her life, and everything centred around her family and home. She was our daughter and our best pal. We cannot imagine what caused this tragedy.”

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