Police baffled by quiet father who killed his family

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The Independent Online

The reason a quiet former civil servant beat to death his wife and four children and then hanged himself may never be known, police said yesterday.

The reason a quiet former civil servant beat to death his wife and four children and then hanged himself may never be known, police said yesterday.

Although there are suggestions that Robert Mochrie may have had financial and marital problems, they say they have found no strong leads.

Detective Superintendent Kevin O'Neill said: "It is difficult because of the time between their deaths and when they were discovered. It is more likely probable we will never know what really happened."

The bodies of Catherine Mochrie, 45, and their children James, 18, Sian, 16, Luke, 14, and Bethan, 10, were found in their beds at the family home in Rutland Close, Barry, South Wales, on Sunday.

Mr Mochrie, 49, was hanging at the top of the stairs. Full details of post-mortem examinations are expected to be released tomorrow.

Police denied the bodies had been lying in the house for 11 days. Det Supt O'Neill said James, who had recently completed his A-levels, had been in a pub close to the family home on Tuesday of last week, 18 July. He drank with friends and left to go home at around 11pm.

Sian was also said to have been seen walking the family boxer dog, Brandy, the day after, although police said they were "tentative" reports. The dog has still not been found.

An officer yesterday read out a statement from Mrs Mochrie's brother, the former Welsh rugby captain and British Lions scrum-half Terry Holmes. "Our family have been completely devastated by the loss of my sister and her family. I simply do not know how to begin putting into words how we are feeling.

"We are supporting each other as best we can through this terrible time and as you can understand we obviously need time to grieve. I speak on behalf of all my family when I ask that the media respect our privacy and allow us to try to come to terms with this tragic incident."

Mrs Mochrie had graduated last year from the University of Wales at Cardiff, where she took an English degree as a mature student. A fellow student, Janice Casaulp, 47, was among those leaving flowers in Rutland Close yesterday.

"I am stunned," she said. "I have not a clue why this has happened. I met Robert a couple of times, but he just seemed very nice, very quiet."

Her tribute read: "No words at a time like this. We remember the good times past. Bless you and yours."

Mr Mochrie left the Welsh Office five years ago and set up as a property developer. Mrs Casaulp went to the opening of one of Mr Mochrie's nightclubs, the Power Station in Barry. She said: "He wasn't much of a nightclub type. It was more of a business to him."

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