IRA survivor 'stabbed his children'

First published in National News © by

A former army sergeant who survived a devastating IRA bomb blast has stabbed his two children to death before killing himself in a countryside bridleway.

The bodies of Michael, 51, Ben, seven, and Freya Pedersen, six, were found next to a Saab 900SE convertible car in the tiny lane at Newton Stacey, near Andover, Hampshire, at 6.15pm on Sunday.

Mr Pedersen was a former army sergeant in the Household Cavalry unit that was hit by an IRA nail bomb in Hyde Park in 1982, it has been reported in the Daily Telegraph.

The children's maternal grandfather, William Clifford, 67, from Buckinghamshire, said outside his daughter Erica's home in Ashford, Middlesex: "We are obviously devastated and what we would ask is that you respect our privacy in this matter.

"It is extremely distressing and that is all I want to say."

Detective Superintendent Tony Harris, of Hampshire police, said that the "tragic" incident happened while Mr Pedersen was on an arranged visit with the two children from his estranged wife.

Mr Pedersen, of Chertsey, Surrey, had taken the children to visit his father in Andover but failed to return the two youngsters to their mother by the pre-arranged time of 5pm.

The bodies were found lying behind the car at 6.15pm by a walker, according to police.

Mr Harris said police were tracing the family of Mr Pedersen, who had two other children from a previous relationship, when his estranged wife raised the alarm at 7pm.

He said he believed the deaths happened sometime that afternoon and he was not looking for anyone else as part of the inquiry.

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