Family issues statement over deaths three children in Shropshire

 


The family of three children apparently killed by their father "cannot begin to imagine" what was going through his mind.

The bodies of Sam Fuller, 12, and his sisters Becka, aged eight, and seven-year-old Charlotte were discovered by police at a beauty spot in Shropshire yesterday.

It is believed they had been stabbed to death by their father Ceri Fuller, 35, who then fell to his death from a nearby quarry.

West Mercia Police have recovered a knife and one line of inquiry detectives are following is that Mr Fuller killed the children before taking his own life.

David Fuller - Mr Fuller's father and grandfather to the children - released a statement on behalf of his and his daughter-in-law's families through police.

"The Fuller and Tocknell families are devastated by this tragedy," Mr Fuller said.

"Ceri was a gentle, sensitive and intelligent man but also a very private one. He loved his children dearly and they were such a focal point of his life.

"His relationship with each one of them was one of gentleness, involvement and attentive nurturing.

"Sam, Rebecca and Charlie were such charming individuals, brought up in an environment of love.

"We cannot begin to imagine what was going through the mind of this gentle man to drive him to such tragic actions.

"We would ask all to respect our privacy at this time while we try to come to terms with this terrible loss."

Police said that Mr Fuller, from Hereford, had asked to be left to grieve in peace.

Earlier today the children's' mother spoke of her devastation.

Ruth Fuller, who had been married to Ceri Fuller for nearly three years, said: "I don't have the words to describe how I feel at the moment. All I would ask is that I be left alone to grieve for my family."

West Mercia Police launched a murder investigation after discovering the four bodies at the Poles Coppice on Pontesbury Hill.

The force described the deaths as a "tragic family situation" and are not looking for anyone else.

Detective Chief Inspector Neil Jamieson, who is leading the investigation, said: "I can disclose that a weapon has been recovered from the scene.

"Officers involved in the search found a knife in the vicinity of where the bodies were found.

"It will now be forensically examined.

"One line of inquiry being considered is that the father took the children's lives before taking his own."

Mr Jamieson said the old quarry and surrounding woodland would remain cordoned off as officers continue a detailed search of the area.

Post-mortem examinations will be conducted this afternoon by a Home Office pathologist and may not be concluded until tomorrow, the detective confirmed.

Police are appealing for information about possible sightings of the vehicle and its four occupants on Thursday.

Mr Jamieson said: "We believe this vehicle left Gloucestershire at some point last Wednesday evening or early Thursday morning and we are anxious to establish its movements since then, especially in the Pontesbury area.

"We believe it was in the Leominster area at around midday on Thursday before making its way up towards Welshpool later that day."

He said several people have already come forward with helpful information that would help police track the vehicle's movements.

"This is in response to our appeals and we are grateful for their assistance," he said.

"However, I am still urging people to call Shrewsbury police station on 101 or our other number, 0300 333 3000, with any details which could help the investigation."

While police work continues in Shropshire, a team of West Mercia detectives have travelled to Gloucestershire to make further inquiries, including speaking to family members.

"We are working very closely with our colleagues in Gloucestershire to try to establish the full circumstances leading up to this tragedy," Mr Jamieson added.

 

Officers found the bodies of the Fuller children shortly before 10am yesterday. The family Land Rover Freelander was discovered nearby.

University graduate Mr Fuller and the children had left their home at Milkwall, near Coleford, Gloucestershire, last Thursday.

Becka and Charlie were pupils at St John's Church of England Primary School in Coleford, which older brother Sam had also attended before moving to secondary school.

Headteacher Jan Wagstaff said: "Rebecca and Charlotte were absolutely delightful children and a pleasure to have in school.

"Sam was also a pupil here before he moved on to Lakers. He was a lot of fun and always had a ready smile. They will all be very sadly missed.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with their family."

Alison Elliott, head of Lakers School in Coleford, added: "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.

"We have arrangements in place to support students, staff, friends and family at this very difficult time."

Mr Fuller married his wife Ruth in August 2009 and neighbours said they had lived in a cream pebbledash semi-detached home on Station Road in the village of Milkwall for about a year.

Neighbours said the family "kept themselves to themselves" but spoke of their shock.

Janice Ayres, who lives next door to the Fuller family, said: "Very, very sad, I just cannot say any more.

"I didn't even know her name (mother of the children). I have children of my own and I would just be devastated.

"I am surprised. They kept themselves to themselves. It's so sad for three young children.

"Being out at work all day you don't really know your neighbours. We would speak if we saw each other in the garden but we never socialised together.

"They were no trouble at all. They've lived here about a year and as far as I know they bought the house as we knew the man who lived there before and he was selling it.

"It is dreadful really to think about it. It's the way life is these days. You just live your own life."

Another neighbour, who did not wish to give their name, added: "They hadn't lived here all that long. They kept themselves to themselves."

Mr Fuller worked as a production supervisor at the Lydney-based Glatfelter paper mill, having joined in 2002.

According to his LinkedIn profile, 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.

PA

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
A poster by Durham Constabulary
news
Arts and Entertainment
books New York Times slammed over summer reading list
Sport
Cameron Jerome
footballCanaries beat Boro to gain promotion to the Premier League
Arts and Entertainment
Performers drink tea at the Glastonbury festival in 2010
music
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine