Killer PC was arrested twice after violent rows

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The Police constable who murdered three members of his family before hanging himself had been arrested twice after violent rows with his wife, police said on Friday.

The Police constable who murdered three members of his family before hanging himself had been arrested twice after violent rows with his wife, police said on Friday.

Details of a second incident in which PC Karl Bluestone was accused of punching his wife were revealed as Kent Police said they were setting up a separate internal inquiry into their handling of the discipline and welfare of the officer. PC Bluestone was not prosecuted or formally disciplined in either of the incidents of domestic violence.

The 36-year-old officer's volatile relationship with his wife, Jill, 31, exploded on Tuesday night when he battered her and two of his four children to death with a claw hammer, before hanging himself in a garage at their home in Kent.

The first time police were called to the couple's house in Gravesend, north-west Kent, was soon after they married in 1994. Mrs Bluestone accused her husband of punching her during a row and he was arrested for common assault.

"She claimed he struck her during an argument. He then made a counter-claim that she had struck him," a spokeswoman for Kent Police said. "A file was sent to the Crown Prosecution Service, but it decided there was insufficient evidence so no charges were brought."

In the second incident, in June 1999, police were called to the Bluestones' three-bedroom semi-detached house after the officer began throwing crockery at his wife during an argument. A cup accidentally hit his daughter Jessica, then aged four, on the leg and Mrs Bluestone fled the house.

After being arrested for a breach of the peace, the officer swallowed a bottle of pills while sitting in the back of a patrol car taking him to a police station. He was taken to hospital, where his stomach was pumped, and kept in overnight for observation.

PC Bluestone remained off work sick for three months. The police spokeswoman said: "When he returned to work after the domestic incident he was moved back to uniform. This was partially to keep him under supervision working in a much closer-knit unit, but also to move him to a different style of work." He was given a verbal warning, but was not officially disciplined.

The Kent force said on Friday that it had launched an internal inquiry into the case. "It will look at the welfare and disciplinary issues," the spokeswoman said.

After the second arrest, social workers from Kent County Council questioned the family but decided no further action was needed. North Kent's child protection committee, which includes police, social services and health authority members, will carry out a review into how the past incidents of domestic violence were handled.

Neighbours have said they heard the couple having several rows over the years, although everyone questioned has described the constable as a devoted father and the children as part of a happy family.

PC Bluestone beat to death his wife, his three-year-old son, Henry, and 18-month-old toddler, Chandler. The couple's other son, Jack, seven, was found outside the house with his head injured. His sister, Jessica, six, escaped with only minor injuries. Jack is due to be moved from intensive care to a regular children's ward.

After the killings, it emerged that the officer had had other lovers during his marriage and that his wife had been having an affair with a colleague at Basildon District Council in Essex.