A father shot dead his wife and two young children before turning the gun on himself.
John Arnold is under-stood to have taken a DNA test that proved his kids were not his.
Last night, after a shotgun was recovered from the family home in a quiet suburban street in Harrow, North-West London, detectives said they were not looking for anyone else in connection with the deaths.
‘It Is An Appalling Tragedy” said a police source. ‘It appears the man had been depressed after finding out his wife was an adulterer and had kids outside of their marriage. ‘He appears to have gunned down his wife and young children and then shot himself.
He had not been in the best of health recently and this may have been on his mind. He was clearly in a terrible state to have done such a thing.’ It emerged last night that 40-year-old Mr Arnold had also been upset when a proposed move to the Dorset coast fell through. The bodies were discovered shortly before 11am on July 28th. The tranquillity of the neighborhood was shattered when a woman friend of the family, who had become concerned about their welfare, called on them .
She became more worried when she could not get in to the $170,000 home where the couple had lived for more than seven years. She called the police and officers arrived to find the bodies of Mr.Arnold , his 33-year-old wife Lisa, and their children Rhianna, ten, and Benjamin, eight.
Police sealed off a 200-yard area outside while forensics experts examined the house, which was briefly visited by Mrs Arnold’s distraught father William Denyer. The killings stunned the local community, where the couple were known as a ‘normal and happy’ pair. It is understood Mr Arnold was a self-employed plumber but had not been able to work for some time due to ill health. ‘John only left hospital a short time ago after an operation,’ a friend of the family said last night.
‘He and Lisa had also hoped to move to Bournemouth but that fell through.’ Mrs Witherspoon worked part-time at a local Sainsbury’s store while her children went to a primary school just yards away from their 1930s home. Colleague Patrick Taylor, 42, yesterday said of the check- out supervisor: ‘She was a great laugh. Only the other day I was having a joke with her on the checkout.
‘She was always here when I arrived, and I would see her with the two kids at the Ruislip Lido. She was always happy and smiling and didn’t seem to have any serious problems.’ Paul Holt, whose wife Anita worked with Mrs Arnold at Sainsbury’s, said: ‘She worked for years at Sainsbury’s, they all socialised together and they’re all friends.
‘We have only just found out and we are devastated. We all knew her situation and all knew she was happy. ‘We don’t know how this has happened – she was such a happy and friendly person.’ Neighbor Kathleen Farell said she had seen the family in the street with the children and they had never caused any problems. ‘I can’t believe this has happened round here. It’s a very quiet area, where everyone keeps themselves to themselves.’ Yesterday afternoon other neighbours, many of them in tears, gathered in the street to discuss the tragedy.
Brian Harris, 69, a retired engineer, said: ‘I hope it’s not the family that I think it may be. The woman is attractive and bubbly and the children are very nice. ‘Generally speaking this is a quiet area, and it’s a great shock to have something like this happen.’ Mike Roper, 57, the owner of a nearby newsagent’s, said:
‘This is absolutely unbelievable. ‘They were a normal family, the kids were always in here –more with their mother than with the father, of course –buying sweets. ‘She was a very attractive lady. He wasn’t a smiler, but he wasn’t grumpy either. They were both always smartly dressed and the kids were very nice. ‘They were a totally normal family. This is totally unreal.’
Detective Superintendent Nigel Mawer of the Serious Crimes Group said last night: ‘A post mortem examination will be carried out, but at this early stage it is not thought there is anybody else involved.’