A father killed his two sons and then took his own life following a five-hour siege at their home in Leicestershire, it was reported today.
David Stokes is believed to have murdered Adam, 11, and five-year-old Matthew at their semi-detached house in Hinckley after barricading himself inside the property.
Police were called to the house on Tuesday evening and used negotiators to talk to the 43-year-old electrician during a long-running stand-off.
Mr Stokes's wife Sally fled the house around five hours after police arrived and officers found the father and sons dead after moving in.
Mrs Stokes ran from the back of the house having suffered serious head injuries, The Sun reported today.
Mr and Mrs Stokes, who wed in August 2012, are understood to have recently separated and the newspaper reported that she had asked for a divorce.
A neighbour, who would not be named, said: 'They were quite a private family and not one to air their dirty laundry in public.
'If they had separated it would only have been family that knew, I imagine. Neither of them had moved out as far as I'm aware.
'It must be a recent thing otherwise they are very good at putting on a front and playing happy families, as that is what they appeared to be when I saw them only last week.'
The two boys attended nearby St Mary's CE Primary School, where headteacher Rachel Ayres said: 'Everyone at St Mary's is devastated by the tragic news about our pupils, Adam and Matthew, and our sincere sympathies are with their family and friends.
'This is an extremely difficult time for our pupils, staff and parents and our priority is supporting them. Special assemblies are being held tomorrow to support the children.'
Neighbour and family friend Teresa Reid, 89, described them as a 'wonderful neighbours'.
Ms Reid said: 'I live opposite them. David is an electrician and into his cycling, Sally works part time somewhere.
'The children are Adam and Matthew who are lovely boys. They come carol singing around here and always stopped to talk.
'They were a lovely family and I always thought they were very happy. I saw Sally and the boys yesterday morning. She was getting them in the car to take them to school.
'She seemed happy and smiling. The boys were dressed very smartly too. I've had conversations with David over the years. He has always been friendly to me.
'I can't believe what has happened. I don't know what went on but it's so very, very sad. They were wonderful neighbours.'
Mrs Stokes's nephew Lewis Foxon said his family were too upset to comment.
Local resident Polly Britten, 45, said: 'It's just an absolute tragedy. I heard there was a huge row between the family.
'He supposedly barricade the door, but Sally got out after a stand-off that lasted hours. Something major must have really triggered it.'
Neighbour Mitch Bennett, 45, who lives at the end of the street, said: 'I came home from work at 10pm last night and saw five police cars and an unmarked police van outside.
'A lot of police were milling about, I saw some police shields come out of the van.
'I knew [the family] a little bit from walking the dog - the children would stop and stroke him. They've been here for a couple of years.'
Another neighbour, who did not wish to be named, added: 'I've seen the family a few times in the street, and they seemed very normal to me.
'I wouldn't have suspected anything was wrong. I used to see Adam playing outside on his scooter.
'I think David is an electrician who works in Leicester, and I think Sally might have a part-time job but I'm not sure.'
One resident said the incident was completely out of character for the area.
The unnamed neighbour said: 'It is totally alien for something like this to happen here. We are all totally shocked.'
Local engineer Ian Kennell said he was woken up by 'shouting and screaming' in the street during the early hours.
He said: 'I heard this commotion but didn't think anything of it and went back to sleep.'
Mr Kennell said he was 'absolutely stunned' when he found out his neighbours were dead.
He added: 'It's a very nice sought after street and there's never been any obvious signs of trouble here.
'I didn't know the family but just saw them coming and going.'
Leicestershire Police attended the address in Welwyn Road at 9.30pm last night after calls from concerned residents, who heard a woman screaming.
Contact was made with Mr and Mrs Stokes, who are said to have been barricaded inside the house.
Hours later, in the early hours of Wednesday morning, Mrs Stokes was rushed to hospital, where she is now in a stable condition.
A search of the house then uncovered the bodies of the two children.
Local resident Wendy Aubrey said: 'They woke me up at 2.30am. I was in bed. My neighbour could see a woman standing in the street. I was woken up by screaming.
'All the cars came down, there were loads of them. I was kept awake by all the doors banging.
'I've been here 30 years, there's always something going on in Hinckley, but you don't expect it round here.'
Forensic examinations are being carried out at the scene, and the cause of death is not yet known.
Detective Chief Superintendent David Sandall, head of Leicestershire Police's crime and intelligence directorate, said: 'A number of inquiries are now under way to understand what caused the three deaths, and the circumstances surrounding the events of last night in the house.
'Whilst we are not, at this stage, looking for anyone in connection with what happened, we would like to hear from anyone who may have information for us.'
Welwyn Road remains cordoned off at its junction with Glebe Road and Trevor Road and is likely to remain so for some time yet.
The Independent Police Complaints Commission has been informed.
Father 'killed his two sons then took his own life after five-hour siege at his home in which his wife suffered serious head injuries before fleeing' RICHARD SPILLETT MARTIN ROBINSON 2 November 2016