Grandparents pay tribute to murdered 'little angels'

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The Independent Online

The grandparents of the two young girls found murdered with their mother on Christmas Eve spoke yesterday of their "tragic loss" as detectives waited to question a man arrested in connection with the deaths.

The bodies of Lisa Higgins, 25, and her daughters Demmy, three, and Keighley, six, were found with knife wounds at their home in Willenhall, West Midlands, on Wednesday evening. Police discovered the bodies when they called on a routine next-of-kin visit after a road accident.

Officers who made the discovery are believed to have seen a body when looking through the window ­ there were unwrapped presents in the room where the children were found

The man, aged 29, who has not been named, was under police guard in hospital in Shropshire where he is being treated for injuries sustained in the road accident as well as a knife wound to his stomach.

The man had hit a tree beside a straight piece of road on the A41 near Tong, Shropshire, in his Black Golf GTI. No other vehicles were involved.

Neighbours said the man and Ms Higgins were partners and had moved into the house three years ago.

In a statement yesterday, Stephen Cartwright, the step-father of Ms Higgins, said he and his wife Elaine, the children's grandmother, were "devastated" by their loss: "On behalf of our family we would like to say that we are devastated at the tragic loss of our daughter as well as our granddaughters.''

The statement added: "This loss has cruelly stripped our family and has created a void which will never be filled. Lisa was a devoted mother, a wonderful sister and daughter as well as our best friend. Keighley and Demmy were vibrant and beautiful grandchildren who were our little angels.

"We request that our privacy is respected at this most distressing and most difficult time and we are left to grieve with our family in private.''

All three bodies were discovered in downstairs rooms which were decorated for the festive period and contained unwrapped presents for the children. Ms Higgins had lived there for three years with her partner, Spencer Smith.

A post-mortem examination has established that Ms Higgins died from stab wounds, but examinations of her daughter have not yet been completed.

No motive for the killings has yet been established. Detectives said yesterday that they had not yet spoken to the man, who has undergone surgery, but expected to question him within the next few days. A West Midlands Police spokeswoman said yesterday: "The suspect remains in a stable condition in hospital and we do not believe that his injuries, consistent with a road accident, are life threatening."