UK

Children Died From Wounds Inflicted With A Hunting Knife, Inquest Hears

24/04/2013 16:11 BST

Three children found dead near their father's body in a disused quarry had suffered neck wounds thought to have been inflicted with a hunting knife, an inquest has heard.

The bodies of Ceri Fuller, 35, his son Samuel, 12, and daughters Rebecca, eight, and Charlotte, seven, were discovered at Poles Coppice, Pontesbury Hill, Shropshire, on July 16 last year.

A joint inquest into the deaths heard that a fingerprint matching Mr Fuller was found on a bloodstained Bowie-type knife recovered from the scene.

Pathologist Dr Alexander Kolar told the hearing all three children had suffered a "large incised wound" to the throat.

Samuel, Dr Kolar said, died from the effects of the single wound to his neck, while his sisters both died from multiple stab injuries, including wounds to the chest.

During harrowing evidence, Dr Kolar confirmed that Samuel and Rebecca had also suffered "defensive" injuries to their hands.

Rebecca had been stabbed five times in the chest, and her sister had suffered four chest wounds, the inquest was told.

Mr Fuller, of Milkwall, Coleford, Gloucestershire, was found dead at the foot of a 60ft cliff at the quarry with a fractured skull and other injuries consistent with a fall from height.

No traces of either drugs or alcohol were found in the body of the paper mill worker, whose Land Rover Freelander was seen parking up near the quarry on Friday July 13.

At the time of the deaths, West Mercia Police said one line of inquiry was that Mr Fuller had killed his children before taking his own life.

In statements read to the court, friends of Mr Fuller, a production line supervisor, described him as a reserved family man who went walking in the country with colleagues.

In a statement read to the court by coroner Andrew Barkley, paper mill employee Alan Norton said Mr Fuller had appeared to be his normal self before he failed to attend work for a night shift on July 12.

"I didn't notice anything different about him from his usual self and I didn't notice any changes in his behaviour or personality," Mr Norton said.

Other statements from Mr Fuller's colleagues described him as a good listener who rarely instigated conversations.

Peter Morgan, whose statement was also read to the inquest, said: "I thought him to be a reserved type of person, very mild-mannered and softly-spoken.

"I am not aware of any reason as to why he may have taken his own life or that of his children."

Steven Bovill, who worked alongside Mr Fuller at the paper mill in Lydney, Gloucestershire, said in his statement to the hearing: "On July 11 he seemed to be his normal self.

"He was always calm and level-headed. I have no idea if he was having any personal issues or family problems."