Young girls among four bodies found in family home

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The Independent Online

A man is believed to have murdered his partner and two young daughters before taking his own life at a house in Hampshire yesterday.

A family member, thought to be the children's grandmother, discovered four bodies at a house in Fordingbridge on the edge of the New Forest shortly before lunchtime. The deaths are believed to be the result of a domestic dispute which turned violent.

The girls' mother, Vicki Case, two-year-old Phoebe and one-year-old Nereya were reportedly found with stab wounds. The girls' father, Andrew Case was found hanged. Emergency services were called after neighbours reported hearing screams. The area around the house on Provost Street was quickly cordoned off by police.

One neighbour, Alayna Brooks, 53, said she had immediately rushed to the house, where she said the bodies had been found by the children's grandmother, who came out of the house screaming: "All my babies are dead".

Ms Brooks said she went into the house and found the mother, in her 30s, dead in the dining room with a plastic bag over her head. She then went upstairs and found the bodies of the two little girls on a bed. Mr Case is believed to have been hanging in the stairway.

She described the family as "gorgeous" and said that "everyone loved them". She added that the couple were "so loved up" and had just returned from a holiday in Weymouth.

Acting Superintendent Gary Cooper, of Hampshire Police, said a family member had discovered the bodies but refused to confirm that it was the children's grandmother.

He said: "We believe it was a relative who came to the address this morning. On entering the address, they found four people dead. The scene is still being examined as it is a very recent incident."

When asked if they had suffered a "violent" death, he said: "It is a very unusual occurrence but something we are investigating with scene of crime officers and the major crime branch."

A Hampshire police spokeswoman confirmed that the bodies were removed from the house at around 6pm yesterday evening and post-mortem examinations would have taken place on the adults at the Royal Hampshire County Hospital in Winchester last night.



Video: Young girls among four dead

The post-mortems on the two girls are likely to take place today. The spokeswoman would not confirm or deny that detectives were looking for anyone in connection with the deaths.

Ms Brooks said she wasn't aware that the family had any problems or financial worries. Local residents said they had heard that Mr Case had cut the throats of his partner and children before taking his own life.

The house where the bodies were found in Fordingbridge was sealed off while scene of crime officers wearing white body suits examined the property. The officers later used a recovery lorry to take away a blue Land Rover Freelander that had children's toys inside and an 08 blue-grey Volkswagon Golf with child seats.

One neighbour, who asked to remain anonymous, said the alarm had been raised after noises were heard in the house. He said his mother had walked past shortly afterwards and saw somebody outside the property "walking around in the road looking like they were going to be sick".

A male shop worker in Fordingbridge, who did not want to be named, said the family had not lived in the area for long.

The Mayor of Fordingbridge, Malcolm Connolly, told a local newspaper: "It's absolutely tragic. It leads to the question why something like this happens. It's a small town. [This] will have a major impact on residents' lives."