Neighbours described hearing gasping "animal-like" sounds coming from the flat of a father of two children who was arrested on suspicion of murder yesterday. The children's mother found him lying next to their bodies when she went to pick up her two-year-old son Theo and four-year-old daughter Yolande Molemohi from her estranged partner's flat in Whalley Range, Manchester.
Police believe the youngsters, who had spent the weekend with their 37-year-old father, were strangled. The mother, Moronge Molemohi, a PhD student from Southern Africa, arrived to collect them at 8am, letting herself in to the property with her own key having only recently moved out of the family home.
The children were unconscious in bed and were pronounced dead in hospital. Detective Superintendent Geoff Wessell of Greater Manchester Police said detectives were not seeking anyone else in connection with the deaths.
"This was a traumatic incident for the family and the officers that attended. No other person is being sought in connection and that male arrested remains in custody and is due to be interviewed today." The couple, both chuchgoers, had lived in Britain for the past six years. It is believed they came either from South Africa or Zimbabwe and had recently separated.
A neighbour at the housing association block, who did not wish to be named, described hearing "terrible noises" before the arrest. The woman said: "I had the door open and I heard this noise. It sounded like a child gasping and I heard a noise of the most horrible moaning. I've never heard a noise like it. It sounded like an animal."
Another neighbour Sophie Partington, 34, said: "They were just a normal happy family. The kids were lovely, cute little kids."