Boys were killed as mother listened

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The Independent Online

A mother listened on the telephone as her estranged husband killed himself and their four children, an inquest was told yesterday.

During a series of frantic late-night calls, Samantha Tolley, 28, pleaded in vain for him not to kill their sons as revenge for becoming pregnant with a new partner.

Keith Young, 38, informed her of his intentions after taking Joshua, aged seven, Thomas, six, Callum, five, and Daniel, three, to a remote beauty spot near Llangollen, North Wales, during an access visit. Ignoring her pleas, Keith Young, 38, made one of her sons say goodbye before informing her as they succumbed one by one to exhaust fumes from a petrol lawnmower in the back of the family car.

The inquest at Wrexham, North Wales, heard how Ms Tolley and Young, a farm labourer from Winsford Cheshire had endured a violent marriage which had come to an end last Christmas.

On 27 March, while the children were visiting their father, Ms Tolley was informed by a relative that he had expressed his intention to kill himself and their sons. When she rang him, Ms Tolley was forced to listen as he carried out his threat. At one point, he put Joshua on the line and said: "Say goodbye to your mum and tell her you love her."

Recording a verdict of unlawful killing on the four boys and suicide for the father, John Hughes, the coroner, said: "It is one of the most harrowing cases I have dealt with."