Father who killed his sons faced rape charge

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The Independent Online

A father found dead with his two sons at the family home was due to appear in court on a rape charge, it was confirmed today.

The body of self-employed Frank Fairless, 36, was found hanging in the garage of the former family home in the village of Scotter, near Gainsborough, Lincolnshire, on Sunday night.

The bodies of his sons Christopher Fairless, nine, and brother Oliver, six, were found in their beds.

A spokesman for the Crown Prosecution Service said Frank Fairless had been charged with a rape which allegedly took place on December 7 and was granted conditional bail when he appeared at Gainsborough Magistrates Court on April 4.

Lincolnshire police today said post mortems showed Mr Fairless and his sons had died from asphyxiation. Other samples have been taken and sent away for forensic analysis.

The police revealed Mr Fairless and the boys' mother, Claire, 31, had split up six months ago.

Detective Chief Inspector Graham White, who is leading the investigation, said: "The boys had been staying with their mother since the break-up.

"This weekend was the first time they had stayed overnight with their father since then, although he had seen them on day visits.

"He picked them up as arranged on Saturday morning and should have returned them at about 5pm on Sunday. When it got to 6pm their mother became concerned and the police were called."

Officers believe Mr Fairless killed the two boys before taking his own life.

Detective Chief Inspector White confirmed the police were not looking for anybody else in connection with the inquiry.

He said a number of hand-written notes were recovered at the scene.

"It is a completely devastating situation for the family. It is difficult to comprehend how they are going to come to terms with this."

Mrs Fairless, who had been staying with the children at her parents' home in the village, was comforted by specially trained police officers.

Her father, James Forrington, said: "We can't believe what has happened. We know as little as anybody else about it."

The family home, called Olverchris (correct) after the two boys, had recently been put up for sale.

The three-bedroomed detached house was built by Mr Fairless himself three years ago and was on the market for £115,000.