A former police inspector strangled his wife and six-year-old daughter before stabbing himself with a kitchen knife a week after he was dismissed from his force for misconduct, an inquest has heard today (Friday).
Loughborough Coroners’ Court heard today (Friday) that Mr Day had strangled and stabbed them and then attacked the couple’s other two children at their home in Robin Crescent, Melton, on December 8 last year. Kimberley and Adam, now aged 16 and 14, survived and attended the hearing supported by their wider family and friends.
The inquest heard how the results of post mortem examinations, further laboratory tests and the conclusion of extensive police investigations had helped to piece together the sequence of events on that fateful day.
Giving evidence, Home Office Pathologist Professor Guy Rutty said that following an initial assault Sam had been strangled and she may have been dead or was close to death when the stab wounds had been inflicted.
Genny was also strangled and stabbed, the stab wounds being the main cause of her death. Prof Rutty said Toby’s injuries were consistent with them being self-inflicted.
Detective Inspector Mathew Healey, of the major crime unit of the East Midlands Special Operations Unit, told the inquest that Mr Day had appeared before a disciplinary panel at force headquarters a week earlier for gross misconduct and the charge being found had been dismissed with immediate effect.
On the day of the tragedy police had been called to Swallowdale Primary School at 4.23pm where Kimberley had run to raise the alarm.
She had stab wounds to her neck and as paramedics attended to her police officers arrived and soon realised they might be dealing with a siege.
DI Healey said police had reason to suspect Toby may be emotionally or mentally disturbed and may have been armed with a knife.
Firearms officers and negotiators were called and the area around the family home was sealed off. With no response from the house entry was forced at 5.22pm after officers saw movement at a downstairs window.
DI Healey said: “Adam was found in the front room with a single stab wound to the chest. The other three were in an upstairs bedroom, Sam and Genny on the bed and Toby lying on the floor with a large kitchen knife in his hand.
“Officers, ambulance staff and a local GP started to treat the injured people. Toby and Sam were pronounced dead at the scene and the three children were taken to Queen’s Medical Centre in Nottingham. Genevieve was formally pronounced dead at 6.35pm.”
DI Healey said the crime scene was secured and in a search of the house a second knife was recovered. Officers then began tracking the family’s movements on the day of the tragedy with the help of witnesses and phone records.
Toby and Sam had seen the children off to school, done a little shopping in Melton town centre and had coffee with Sam’s parents in Market Overton.
Toby, who had been a highly regarded police officer, had arranged for a Police Federation representative to visit him at home the next day but at 2.21pm received a call from a senior officer at Leicestershire Police informing him of press interest in his dismissal.
A few minutes later the same officer sent Toby a text asking him how a GP appointment had gone and encouraging him to get support from occupational health.
After a missed call from Toby at about 4pm the officer spoke to Toby again who this time sounded ‘hostile’ and ended the call. Toby sent his mother a text telling her the papers may run a story about him.
DI Healey said that a witness reported female screams coming from the house at 4.15pm. Further witnesses recalled seeing Toby in a distressed state while Adam had also tried to flee.
After recording his verdicts coroner Trevor Kirkman said: “No one here or in the wider community could fail to have been touched by these tragic incidents.
“I offer my sincere condolences to the surviving children for the enormous loss you have suffered and to the wider family.
“There has been tremendous support from within the wider commumnity, the church, schools and locally and it’s that support which will help you continue your journey.”
Speaking after the inquest vicar of Oakham Canon Lee Francis-Dehqani, the family’s parish priest, said: “In the 11 months since these tragic deaths I have been conscious of the resilience of the family and their deep care for one another. Today’s inquest is one more step in coming to terms with all that has happened.
“As we did at their funerals we can continue to be thankful for Sam, Genevieve and Toby’s lives. It is to the Christian hope of life eternal that we have entrusted them.”
Deputy Chief Constable Simon Edens, who has responsibility for professional standards at Leicestershire Police, said: “The events of last December were truly tragic in every sense of the word. Out thoughts today are very much with Adam, Kimberley and their family.”