Father stabbed two children to death on bridleway

 

The family of two children whose bodies were found with their father's in a countryside lane tonight spoke of their devastation.

The bodies of Michael, 51, Ben, seven, and Freya Pedersen, six, were found next to a Saab 900SE convertible car in the tiny lane at Newton Stacey, near Andover, Hampshire, at 6.15pm yesterday.

Tonight the children's maternal grandfather, William Clifford, 67, from Buckinghamshire, speaking outside his daughter Erica's home in Ashford, Middlesex, said: "We are obviously devastated and what we would ask is that you respect our privacy in this matter. It is extremely distressing and that is all I want to say."

Five police officers were tonight on duty outside the address.

Detective Superintendent Tony Harris, of Hampshire police, said that the "tragic incident" happened during a visit to Mr Pedersen's father during an arranged visit with his children from his estranged wife.

Mr Harris said that Surrey Police were considering referring the case to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) because of some previous contact with Mr Pedersen.

Mr Harris said the mother of the two children had alerted Surrey Police at 7pm yesterday after Mr Pedersen, of Chertsey, Surrey, failed to return with the children at the arranged time of 5pm.

He said he believed the deaths happened at some point during the afternoon.

Mr Harris said: "A Home Office pathologist visited the scene and at this time it appears the children suffered fatal stab wounds and Mr Pedersen took his own life shortly afterwards."

He added: "They were visiting relatives in Andover, which is nearby.

"It was the father of Mr Pedersen, the grandfather of the children."

Describing the incident, he added: "Any scene you go to with children involved is distressing for the officers, we have given them support and they continue to receive support.

"It is very tragic, it's a dreadful loss of life, one of the most tragic cases I have had to deal with."

Mr Harris said police were in the process of tracing the family of Mr Pedersen, who had two other children from a previous relationship, when his estranged wife raised the alarm.

He added that he was not looking for anyone else in connection with the deaths.

The bodies were found lying behind the car, he said.

He added: "It's very isolated and there was a person walking yesterday who notified us to the presence of the vehicle but I do not anticipate anyone else would have seen anything."

The children's mother was informed by a family liaison officer and was being provided with support, he said.

Mr Harris said the mother of the two children had alerted Surrey Police at 7pm yesterday after Mr Pedersen failed to return with the children at the arranged time of 5pm.

He said he believed the deaths happened at some point during the afternoon.

Mr Harris said: "A Home Office pathologist visited the scene and at this time it appears the children suffered fatal stab wounds and Mr Pedersen took his own life shortly afterwards."

He added: "They were visiting relatives in Andover, which is nearby.

"It was the father of Mr Pedersen, the grandfather of the children."

Describing the incident, he added: "Any scene you go to with children involved is distressing for the officers, we have given them support and they continue to receive support.

"It is very tragic, it's a dreadful loss of life, one of the most tragic cases I have had to deal with."

Mr Harris said police were in the process of tracing the family of Mr Pedersen, who had two other children from a previous relationship, when his estranged wife raised the alarm.

He added that he was not looking for anyone else in connection with the deaths.

The bodies were found lying behind the car, he said.

He added: "It's very isolated and there was a person walking yesterday who notified us to the presence of the vehicle but I do not anticipate anyone else would have seen anything."

The children's mother was informed by a family liaison officer and was being provided with support, he said.

PA

News
The current recommendation from Britain's Chief Medical Officer, is that people refrain from drinking on at least two days a week
food + drinkTheory is that hangovers are caused by methanol poisoning
News
scienceExcitement from alien hunters at 'evidence' of extraterrestrial life
Life and Style
Customers can get their caffeine fix on the move
food + drink
News
newsRyan Crighton goes in search of the capo dei capi
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Extras
indybest

Arts and Entertainment
Actors front row from left, Jared Leto, Jennifer Lawrence, Meryl Streep, Ellen DeGeneres, Bradley Cooper, Peter Nyongío Jr., and, second row, from left, Channing Tatum, Julia Roberts, Kevin Spacey, Brad Pitt, Lupita Nyongío and Angelina Jolie as they pose for a
film
Sport
sport
Life and Style
techCould new invention save millions in healthcare bills?
Sport
David Moyes gets soaked
sport Moyes becomes latest manager to take part in the ALS challenge
Voices
A meteor streaks across the sky during the Perseid Meteor Shower at a wind farm near Bogdanci, south of Skopje, Macedonia, in the early hours of 13 August
voicesHagel and Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise, says Robert Fisk
Life and Style
Horst P Horst mid-fashion shoot in New York, 1949
fashionFar-reaching retrospective to celebrate Horst P Horst's six decades of creativity
News
Members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community walk with a rainbow flag during a rally in July
i100
Life and Style
Black Ivory Coffee is made using beans plucked from elephants' waste after ingested by the animals
food + drinkFirm says it has created the "rarest" coffee in the world
Life and Style
news

As Voltaire once said, “Ice cream is exquisite. What a pity it isn’t illegal”

Life and Style
food + drinkThese simple recipes will have you refreshed within minutes
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Robert Fisk: All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Chuck Hagel and Martin Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise
Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

So claims an EU report which points to the Italian Mob’s alleged grip on everything from public works to property
Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Once the poor relation, the awards show now has the top stars and boasts the best drama
What happens to African migrants once they land in Italy during the summer?

What happens to migrants once they land in Italy?

Memphis Barker follows their trail through southern Europe
French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

The ugly causeway is being dismantled, an elegant connection erected in its place. So everyone’s happy, right?
Frank Mugisha: Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked

Frank Mugisha: 'Coming out was a gradual process '

Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked
Radio 1 to hire 'YouTube-famous' vloggers to broadcast online

Radio 1’s new top ten

The ‘vloggers’ signed up to find twentysomething audience
David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

A blistering attack on US influence on British television has lifted the savvy head of Channel 4 out of the shadows
Florence Knight's perfect picnic: Make the most of summer's last Bank Holiday weekend

Florence Knight's perfect picnic

Polpetto's head chef shares her favourite recipes from Iced Earl Grey tea to baked peaches, mascarpone & brown sugar meringues...
Horst P Horst: The fashion photography genius who inspired Madonna comes to the V&A

Horst P Horst comes to the V&A

The London's museum has delved into its archives to stage a far-reaching retrospective celebrating the photographer's six decades of creativity
Mark Hix recipes: Try our chef's summery soups for a real seasonal refresher

Mark Hix's summery soups

Soup isn’t just about comforting broths and steaming hot bowls...
Tim Sherwood column: 'It started as a three-horse race but turned into the Grand National'

Tim Sherwood column

I would have taken the Crystal Palace job if I’d been offered it soon after my interview... but the whole process dragged on so I had to pull out
Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

Eden Hazard admits he is still below the level of Ronaldo and Messi but, after a breakthrough season, is ready to thrill Chelsea’s fans
Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

The Everton and US goalkeeper was such a star at the World Cup that the President phoned to congratulate him... not that he knows what the fuss is all about
Match of the Day at 50: Show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition

Tom Peck on Match of the Day at 50

The show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition