Murder and Suicide at Sandy Hills

1970s: Brian Muchmore: There was also a case on Sandy Hills probably in the 70s, when I think it was a mother killed a couple of little girls, could have been the father bit hazy now.

Roger Cole: The family of husband and wife and two or three daughters lived in the terraced house, the husband work nights. His wife was suffering depression and used tights to strangled the children whilst they slept and then herself again using tights [apparently once you pull them tight in a knot you cannot undo them].

I think the husband returned home in the morning and found them. The time of death was established as being during the time he was at work with his colleagues. I had to spend the entire night shift sitting in the lounge guarding the scene.

Debby Boitoult: Father was working away from home during the week; he came home and found all three of his daughters dead in their beds. Not quite sure of their ages, but they were something like three, five and eight. They had been strangled and the pink scarf or ribbon tied round their necks had been made into a perfect bow. Their mother was also dead in her bed, although she was in a bit of a state because the electric blanket was on. She had a pair of tights tied round her neck.

First suspicion fell on the husband, but it turned out that she had killed the children and then killed herself using the tights. It was one of those jobs that always stayed in my head as the children were so lovely.

Jim Allen: I was the duty CID officer in the 1970s for the triple murder and suicide on the Sandy Hills Estate. I was just booking off about 1830hrs when the Station officer (I cannot remember who it was)) gave me the phone and said "There's a doctor on the phone who wants to report a triple murder and suicide".

I thought to begin with he was joking but soon found out that it was true. Superintendent Ken Gosling was in his office and we decided that we would go to the scene in his car. Whilst going up Castle Hill he kept complaining that the car had no acceleration, I looked down and saw the hand brake was still fully on, I released it and we made much better progress.

Arriving at the scene I went upstairs into the children's bedroom and saw the small children in bed they were tucked up as though asleep, I believe two girls and a boy. I lifted the bed clothes and saw a stocking tied tightly around each child's neck.

There was a bad smell coming along the landing I walked to the front bedroom of the house and found the body of a female lying on her back on a double bed, the electric blanket was on and there was a stocking tied tightly around her neck. I was later to find out from Dr Ainsworth at the post-mortem that this was a known way of committing suicide but it has to be a silk article as this does not release when tightened.

The investigation team were called and assembled in the front room of the house, where the children had a pet hamster in a cage, they also had a pet cat which attacked the hamster cage the door came open and the cat was chasing the hamster all over the front room, with senior officer shouting get that cat, I manage to grab its tail as it passed me and deposit it out of an open window; a lighter moment in a very tragic situation.

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