'I'm lost for words': mother mourns three children killed by father

Police have confirmed a knife was found in the vicinity of the children's bodies

The mother of the three children from Gloucestershire apparently killed by their father spoke of her devastation. Ruth Fuller, mother of Sam, 12, and his sisters Becka, aged eight, and seven-year-old Charlotte, released a short statement through Gloucestershire Police.

Mrs Fuller 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."

The bodies of the three children were discovered at a beauty spot near Shrewsbury, Shropshire. It is believed they died from knife wounds. The body of their father Ceri Fuller, 35, was found nearby at the Poles Coppice on Pontesbury Hill. He is thought to have fallen from a cliff.

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. The force launched a murder investigation but 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 discovered. It will now be forensically examined."

Police are appealing for information about possible sightings of family Land Rover Freelander and its four occupants on Thursday.

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.

"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."