Sunday 28 May 2017

Toddler was stabbed in neck, inquest told

Dave Higgens

A TODDLER who was found dead at his home alongside his mother, father and brother had been stabbed in the neck, a coroner said today.

Aaron Smith, 13 months, is thought to have been attacked along with his mother Clair Smith, 36, and his brother Ben, nine, by his father Richard Smith, 37, who then killed himself.

It appears Smith stabbed his wife and children before setting light to the main bedroom of their detached home in Leeds, and killing himself by smoke inhalation.

Today, Leeds Coroner David Hinchliff opened and adjourned inquests into all four deaths at a 15 minute hearing in the city.

He confirmed Aaron had died from a stab wound to the neck which severed the carotid artery and jugular vein.

Mr Hinchliff said his brother died from suffocation due to the obstruction of his airway and smoke inhalation.

Police have said Ben was also stabbed.

Mrs Smith died from a stab wound to the chest and "external compression to the neck".

The court heard Richard Smith died from smoke inhalation.

The police officer leading the investigation, Detective Superintendent Paul Taylor, told the inquest no further tests on the bodies were needed and Mr Hinchliff ruled they could be released for funerals to take place.

Police have said the family were last seen at 11pm on Friday, December 9, when they left a Christmas party at Pudsey St Lawrence Cricket Club by taxi.

Ben's advent calendar was not opened on the Saturday so officers believe something happened overnight Friday or the early hours of Saturday.

Officers were talking to people who were at the cricket club party but confirmed there had been no reports of any unusual incidents at the function.

The family was found dead after concerned neighbours called at the house followed soon after by police officers.

Relatives have described them as a "perfect family".

Smith worked as a quantity estimator at a shopfitting firm and was a coach for a local football club. Mrs Smith was an accounts manager.

Family members said the family appeared to have no problems and could not understand what had happened.

Mr Hinchliff adjourned the inquests to a date to be fixed.

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