Monday 18 December 2017

Video: Mother questioned over the death of her two children

Jeffrey and Felicia Boots. Photo: Facebook
Jeffrey and Felicia Boots. Photo: Facebook
Police were called to an address in Killarney Road, Wandsworth, at 7.25pm on Wednesday. Photo: Facebook
Lily Boots (R) and Jeffrey and Felicia Boots's 10 week old unnamed son (L) Photo: Facebook

Andrew Hough and Martin Evans

A WEALTHY investment banker’s wife has been arrested on suspicion of killing their 10-week old son and 14-month old daughter just days after the family moved into a £1.2 million London home.

Jeff Boots, 34, who was a former director at BMO Trading in the City, discovered the bodies of his two children when he returned home from work to their new London home early on Wednesday evening.

His wife, Felicia, also 34, is believed to have attempted suicide before being arrested on suspicion of the double killing.

Paramedics were called to the house in Wandsworth, South London, at around 7.30pm but were unable to revive the children, who had allegedly been smothered to death.

Neighbours said the couple, who are both originally from Canada, had moved into the five bedroom house just two weeks ago and seemed happy and excited about the future.

But on Wednesday evening Mr Boots was heard wailing in the street, shortly before an ambulance and police cars arrived on the scene.

Paramedics fought to save the two children, but they were both pronounced dead at the scene.

A neighbour, who said she had seen Mr Boots walking the family dog regularly since moving in, said: “I heard him, he was obviously upset, it was not really sobbing, but I don’t want to say what I heard.

"It was just after 7pm and the man I heard had a North American accent. I had never seen the mother as they had only just moved in.”

Mr Boots is thought to have transferred to London from Canada several years ago with his bank which is based in Montreal, bringing his wife, a former hair stylist, with him. He left BMO last year.

The couple had, until recently, rented a two bedroom penthouse apartment in nearby Wandsworth Town for £2100 a month, but completed on their new family property just last month, weeks after the birth of their second child.

The area is so popular with young middle-class families, due to its safe streets and good schools, that it has been dubbed "nappy valley".

Neighbours in the quiet and well appointed street last night described their shock on hearing of the deaths.

Claire Beacham, 38, said: "I think they moved in about two weeks ago, so I guess they hadn't been her long enough to get to know anyone.

“I didn't even know they had kids, I know quite a lot of the mums on the street but I had never even seen her. I hadn't seen them coming or going. I can't believe it, I am so shocked.”

On Thursday forensic officers took several bags of potential evidence from semi-detached home including children's clothing, documents and an Apple computer box.

Mrs Boots, is a keen practitioner of yoga and a passionate animal and nature lover.

She launched her own jewellery design business, Pink Tangerine, after moving to London and had built up a loyal and enthusiastic client base.

Writing on the business website she said: “I once read that 'only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly'.

"I hope to achieve greatly. Some small business ventures, design courses, life experiences, and advice from some important people in my life have helped me to grow and cultivate my desire to give some beauty back to the world by way of my creative passions.

"I love making things with my hands, things that can be worn by myself and the rest of the world. Inspiration is such an internal process and it is amazing for your inward thoughts to come to fruition and be adorned and adored by others."

In a series of glowing testimonials also on the website, friends and former colleagues paid tribute to her creative talents.

Stephanie Ledda, assistant product manager at Wella in Canada, said: "Felicia's carefree and outgoing attitude is something I have always admired."

Lisa Fenn, also from Toronto, said: "Felicia has such great spirit and a real magnetism – I am sure she will knock your socks off.”

Meanwhile Peter Kyriacou, owner of Peter Penny's Hair and Beauty in London, said: "I have had the pleasure of working alongside Felicia for the last four years. Along with being attentive and unassuming, Felicia is very creative and multi-talented; this making her a very special artist."

On Thursday night, he declined to comment on the tragedy.

The Estate agent, Savills, has reported the house sold for £1.2 million.

Oliver Jones, 27, a business consultant, has lived opposite with his partner Sarah, also 27, for the past six months.

He said he noticed Mr Boots waiting for police outside the house about 730pm. About 40 emergency services attended included police and ambulance officers.

“He was obviously very upset. He was crying. He was beyond words. It is very, very sad. Clearly we were all concerned as neighbours that something was happening.”

He said that Mrs Boots was led out by police about two hours after police arrived.

“She seemed very placid. She was very calm. She walked to the police car. She was not in handcuffs.”

He added: “It was obviously very sad that something which you would not expect to happen to anybody.

“The most important thing to take away is that it is really tragic, we don’treally know what happened.

“Sometimes people need a lot of help and sometimes it is when we least expect it.

“It is very tragic. It is a lovely community. We are all very good friends. We have great Christmas parties.”

The current tenant at their former apartment, a woman in her 30s who declined to name, said the couple appeared happy in the house, complete with a court yard, which was filled with African art.

"It is horrendous. It is awful because those children were lovely," she said.

"They had just bought a place actually. She was really looking forward to moving into a bigger house and their own place. She was seemed really happy to be honest.

"She was not working as she was looking after the children. She said she was run off her feet because she had a young one and a new baby."

She added: "When I met them she kept apologising for the state of the place. He was a really lovely man. It is so sad."

Mrs Boots also started her own blog before moving to Britain, on which she praised Canada’s natural beauty.

In 2005 she wrote: “To make sense, to speculate, to make a difference, to know, to reach as far as possible … The vast nature reminds me that the power of great ideas has no boundaries. When we are just small kids we think we can do anything ... that is a feeling we should never loose. Really anything is possible if we believe.”

A Scotland Yard spokesman said: “Police were called to an address in Killarney Road, SW18 at 19:25 hrs on Wednesday 9 May. The London Ambulance Service also attended but a 10-week-old boy and a 14-month-old girl were pronounced dead at the scene.

“Post-mortem examinations will take place in due course. Next of kin are aware.

"A woman in her mid-30s was arrested on suspicion of murder. She is currently in custody at a south London police station. Detectives from the Child Abuse Investigation Command are leading the investigation, and inquiries continue into the full circumstances of the incident.”

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