The bodies of a missing father and his three children were discovered today in an isolated area of woodland.
Local reports said Ceri Fuller appeared to have died after falling from a cliff into a quarry. The children, Sam, 12, and daughters Becka, 10, and Charlotte, six, who is also known as Charlie, are believed to have suffered stab wounds although police would not confirm the nature of their injuries.
The discovery was made by an officer from West Merica Police at a beauty spot at Pontesbury Hill, near Shrewsbury in Shropshire following a sighting of Mr Fuller’s red Land Rover Freelander which was abandoned nearby.
The alarm was raised by the children’s mother. The four had been missing from the family home in the Forest of Dean since last Thursday.
Police were called after the children failed to turn up for school and Mr Fuller did not report for his job as a production supervisor at a local paper mill.
A spokesman for Gloucestershire Police said: "While the bodies have yet to be formally identified, Mr Fuller's family have been informed of the discovery and are being supported by police family liaison officers.”
This afternoon officers from West Mercia Police, who are investigating what is now being treated as a potential triple murder inquiry, had sealed off the area whilst forensic teams examined the scene.
Two rapid response vehicles, an ambulance, a paramedic officer and the Midlands Air Ambulance based at RAF Cosford also attended the incident.
Neighbours of the family, who had recently moved to the cream pebbledash semi-detached home in the village of Milkwall, near Coleford, expressed their horror at news of the discovery describing the Fullers as a quiet and reserved family.
Janice Ayres, who lives next door to the Fullers said: "Very, very sad, I just cannot say any more … I am surprised. They kept themselves to themselves. It’s so sad for three young children.”
Police said the science graduate’s disappearance last week was “completely out of character”. His family had thought he may have taken the children on an impromptu holiday to North Wales.
Jan Wagstaff, headteacher of St John's Church of England Primary, said: "Rebecca and Charlotte were absolutely delightful children and a pleasure to have in school.
Alison Elliott, head of Lakers School, attended by Sam, said: "We are desperately sad to hear the family are having to face such a dreadful situation.
"Sam was a well loved member of our extended family here at Lakers. Our thoughts are with the family at this very tragic time.”
A statement from Mr Fuller’s employers, paper manufacturing firm Glatfelter, said there staff were saddened by his death.
Mr and Mrs Fuller married in August 2009.
Mrs Fuller’s father, Ron Tocknell, from Lydney, Gloucestershire, appealed for information when his son-in-law disappeared.
He wrote on his Facebook page: "If anyone who knows Ceri has any idea of his whereabouts, please contact Glos. police immediately. We are all so worried.”
Mr Fuller was educated at Whitecross School in Lydney before taking A-levels in physics, chemistry, biology and general studies at the Royal Forest of Dean College.
He then completed a BSc in molecular and cellular biology at the University of Huddersfield, graduating in 2001. He joined Lydney-based Glatfelter in August 2002.