Yorkshire mother and sons were stabbed

 

A mother and her two sons, whose bodies were found in a bedroom at their home, had been stabbed, police said today.

Clair Smith, 36, and her sons Ben, nine, and Aaron, one, are thought to have been attacked by the boys' father Richard Smith, 37, who then killed himself.

Police said today all four were found dead together on a double bed in the fire-damaged main bedroom of their home in Sheridan Way, Pudsey, near Leeds, on Sunday.

Officers confirmed Richard Smith died from smoke inhalation.

They said Mrs Smith died from a single stab wound to her chest as did baby Aaron.

Ben suffered a stab wound to the chest area but died as a result of suffocation.

Today Detective Superintendent Paul Taylor, of West Yorkshire Police, said Ben's unopened advent calendar was one clue to when the killings happened.

Mr Taylor said the family were last seen at 11pm on Friday night when they left a function at Pudsey St Lawrence Cricket Club by taxi.

The detectives said: "Ben's advent calendar is not opened on the Saturday so we believe something's happened overnight Friday or the early hours of Saturday but, of course, if anybody else has any information that would contradict that we would very much want to hear from them."

Mr Taylor said officers were talking to people who were at the cricket club party but confirmed there had been no reports of any unusual incidents at the function.

The family was found dead after concerned neighbours called at the house on Sunday afternoon followed soon after by police officers.

Police have not commented on reports Smith was seen cleaning his car at the weekend.

Mr Taylor said he could not give any further details about how the family died.

He repeated that due to the "cause of deaths and other physical evidence found with the scene" he is not looking for anyone else in connection with the deaths.

The detective said a number of items had been found in the house which could be used as weapons and they are being analysed.

He said he did not want to speculate about what prompted the killings.

"The coroner must rule on what happened that night or over that weekend. You can draw conclusions on what I've said if you wish but I'll be putting a file to the coroner."

Mr Taylor said: "I really don't want to go into anything about motive or anything like that.

"That'll be the thrust of the ongoing investigation that's going to take place over the next few months.

"What the state of mind of Richard, Clair or anybody else was will be a matter we'll be trying to investigate.

"It's not for me to guess now."

Tributes have continued to be left at the police cordon on Sheridan Way, which is about 50 yards from the house.

Mrs Smith's parents, Alan and Norma Robinson, released as statement which said: "Clair was an exceptional person, loving and caring to everyone.

"She was a loving mum, her children were her life, and everything centred around her family and home.

"She was our daughter and our best pal. We cannot imagine what caused this tragedy."

Yesterday, relatives described the Smiths as a "perfect family".

Friends said Smith worked for a shopfitting firm as a designer and was a coach for a local football club.

They said the family appeared to have no problems and could not understand what had happened.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
Young Winstone: His ‘tough-guy’ image is a misconception
people
Arts and Entertainment
Man of action: Christian Bale stars in Exodus: Gods and Kings
film
Sport
Adnan Januzaj and Gareth Bale
footballManchester United set to loan out Januzaj to make room for Bale - if a move for the Welshman firms up
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
filmIdris Elba responds to James Bond rumours on Twitter
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
News
Hackers revealed Oscar-winning actress Lawrence was paid less than her male co-stars in American Hustle
people
Arts and Entertainment
Ellie Levenson’s The Election book demystifies politics for children
bookNew children's book primes the next generation for politics
Sport
Wayne Rooney warms up ahead of the English Premier League football match between Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United at White Hart Lane
football
News
Outspoken: Alexander Fury, John Rentoul, Ellen E Jones and Katy Guest
newsFrom the Scottish referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister in Game of Thrones
film
News
i100
Sport
Yaya Sanogo, Mats Hummels, Troy Deeney and Adnan Januzaj
footballMost Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
News
Nigel Farage celebrates with a pint after early local election results in the Hoy and Helmet pub in South Benfleet in Essex
peopleHe has shaped British politics 'for good or ill'
Voices
Strictly Come Dancing was watched by 6.9m viewers
voicesIt has been hard to form generally accepted cultural standards since the middle of the 19th century – and the disintegration is only going to accelerate, says DJ Taylor
News
Danielle George is both science professor and presenter
people
News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?
Finally, a diet that works: Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced

Finally, a diet that works

Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced
Say it with... lyrics: The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches

Say it with... lyrics

The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches
Professor Danielle George: On a mission to bring back the art of 'thinkering'

The joys of 'thinkering'

Professor Danielle George on why we have to nurture tomorrow's scientists today
Monique Roffey: The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections

Monique Roffey interview

The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections
Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Their outrageousness and originality makes the world a bit more interesting, says Ellen E Jones
DJ Taylor: Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

It has been hard to form generally accepted cultural standards since the middle of the 19th century – and the disintegration is only going to accelerate, says DJ Taylor
Olivia Jacobs & Ben Caplan: 'Ben thought the play was called 'Christian Love'. It was 'Christie in Love' - about a necrophiliac serial killer'

How we met

Olivia Jacobs and Ben Caplan
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's breakfasts will revitalise you in time for the New Year

Bill Granger's healthy breakfasts

Our chef's healthy recipes are perfect if you've overindulged during the festive season
Transfer guide: From Arsenal to West Ham - what does your club need in the January transfer window?

Who does your club need in the transfer window?

Most Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
The Last Word: From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015

Michael Calvin's Last Word

From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015