Saturday 16 December 2017

Father of two boys killed by their mother accused of assaulting her

By Robert Mendick

THE partner of a woman who apparently killed their two young sons before taking her own life was facing trial for assaulting her.

Police are investigating a possible link between the timings of the death and an upcoming court case involving the dead woman’s boyfriend.

Kat Hooper, 24, is thought to have killed her two-year-old son Samuel at their home in Paignton in Devon before jumping from a cliff in Dartmoor with her elder son Joshua, aged five.

Devon and Cornwall police launched a murder inquiry following the deaths on Friday. The detective leading the investigation said police were “keeping an open mind about all three deaths” but said that they were “not looking for anyone else”.

Police will try to piece together why Miss Hooper apparently murdered her children.

It emerged on Saturday that her partner Neil Patterson, 52, the father of the two boys, is due to appear in court in the coming weeks on a charge of assaulting Miss Hooper at their home.

The incident is alleged to have taken place on April 28th. Mr Patterson, a builder, was granted bail and neighbours suggested the coming court case had been worrying for Miss Hooper.

Mr Patterson issued a statement through police, requesting he be left alone to grieve.

Mr Patterson said in the statement: “On the Friday evening I heard the devastating news that the three most important and cherished people in my life had been taken from me.

“I would gratefully appreciate for me and my family to be left alone to come to terms with this devastating loss and to grieve in peace.”

One neighbour said that after the row the children had been taken into care for six weeks while their mother recovered. Two weeks ago, Miss Hooper and her sons moved back home and she was beginning to rebuild her life. Jonathan Grant, 28, who had known the family for three years, said: “She was good-looking, chatty, funny, she would play with the kids outside a lot.

“This is a massive shock to us, it hasn’t sunk in yet. They were very sweet, very well behaved boys.”

Post mortems will now be carried out on the three victims. It is not yet clear how Samuel died amid suggestions he may have been suffocated in his bedroom.

Miss Hooper, who did not drive, somehow managed to then take herself and her elder son to Haytor about 20 miles away where their bodies were found at the bottom of the tor.

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