Monday 23 January 2017

IRA bomb victim soldier who killed his two young children 'was suffering post-traumatic stress disorder'

Published 06/12/2012 | 09:45

The two children killed by their father, IRA bomb survivor Michael Pedersen, died as a result of multiple stab wounds, police have revealed
The two children killed by their father, IRA bomb survivor Michael Pedersen, died as a result of multiple stab wounds, police have revealed

A FORMER soldier injured an IRA bomb attack who committed suicide after killing his two young children had told his doctor he was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

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Sgt Pedersen, a former cavalryman who was riding Sefton when his unit was hit by an IRA nail bomb in Hyde Park in 1982, was "angry" after his marriage broke down weeks before he stabbed his children and then himself, an inquest in Winchester heard.

His son Ben, seven, was stabbed at least six times in his chest while his daughter Freya, six, was stabbed in the heart and a major artery in her arm was severed in the incident in September, the coroner was told.

Sgt Pedersen then stabbed himself three times in the chest and once through his forearm. Multiple stab wounds were identified as the cause of death for all three.

The cavalryman was banned from going near the family house after he was arrested for assaulting his wife, Erica. She was granted an injunction against him following an argument at a party on August 25, as their marriage fell under strain. She told the inquest he called her an unfit mother before pushing her so she fell to the floor, injuring her arm.

His younger brother Robert told the inquest that Michael was upset with his wife, but also with police whom he felt had not listened to him after he was questioned on suspicion of assaulting her.

He last spoke to Michael on September 27 as he was dealing with divorce papers following the break-up of his brother's marriage in August.

He said his brother "worshipped the ground Ben and Freya walked on".

Detectives were alerted to the deaths after a passer-by found the three bodies near a bridleway in Andover, Hants, in September.

Sgt Pederson ran his own haulage firm with his wife after miraculously escaping serious injury in the nail bomb attack.

He was formerly in the Household Cavalry and was riding Sefton en route to the Changing of the Guard on 20 July 1982 with 15 other horses from his regiment when the car bomb detonated in Hyde Park, killing five soldiers and seven horses.

Sefton and eight of his stablemates sustained injuries and Sgt Pederson was in severe shock.

The horse survived despite having 34 wounds and needing eight hours of surgery. He became a symbol of the struggle against the IRA and won the Horse of the Year, a prize Sgt Pederson picked up on his behalf.

By Tom Rowley

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