6 05 2008

Man charged over deaths of seven-year-old boy and his disabled sister




A 49-year-old man has been charged in connection with the murders of a boy and his disabled sister.

Ryan Thomson, seven, and his 25-year-old sister Michelle were found dead in their father’s home, according to police.

It emerged yesterday that Ryan had been treated to a leaving party at his primary school just a day before his death.

Last night their father Robert, 49, who was found in the same house with serious injuries, was discharged from hospital.

Police also revealed that a man had been charged in connection with the murders and would appear in Kirkcaldy Sheriff Court today.

Police said the children had been staying with their father on a temporary basis in the Muiredge Cottages area of Buckhaven, Fife.

Mr Thomson’s estranged wife June, who discovered the bodies on Saturday evening, had been visiting to attempt a reconciliation.

It is understood Mrs Thomson had been looking for a new home in England. It was unclear whether she had been planning to move permanently and if she had also intended to take Michelle, who had Down’s syndrome, with her.

A friend of the family, who did not want to be named, said: “Ryan only just had a school leaving party at his primary school on Friday because the family were planning to leave for London.

“We just can’t believe what’s happened.”

It is understood that a third sibling, Ross Thomson, 20, had been upstairs during the incident on Saturday but had not been aware of anything happening.

The couple’s eldest son Shaun, 20, travelled back to the Fife area from his home in Essex as soon as he heard about the tragedy.

The family friend added: “Ryan and Michelle’s older brother Ross stayed with me over the weekend, but he hasn’t said a word about what happened. He is still in shock.”

Another friend, whose daughter helped to care for Michelle, said the Thomsons had split up recently and Mr Thomson was looking after the children.

She said: “A couple of weeks back, June left him and went down south to look for a new home. But she had come back to try and patch things up.

“I don’t know what would bring someone to do something like this, it’s just horrible to think.”

Neighbour Chris Arnott, 38, said: “It isn’t nice to think this could happen on your street right under your nose.”

Mrs Thomson was last night being comforted by relatives.

Detective Superintendent Alastair McKeen of Fife Constabulary said Mr Thomson had been released from Queen Margaret Hospital in Dunfermline yesterday.

Mr McKeen added: “Both Michelle and Ryan suffered a particularly violent death and the scene was extremely harrowing for the police officers and paramedics who arrived at the house.

“Following on from our appeal yesterday, we are extremely heartened by the very positive response from the members of the community in Buckhaven.”

Earlier, officers say they are continuing to build up a ‘general picture’ of the movements of Michelle and Ryan on Saturday morning and afternoon before they were discovered dead, but have declined to go in to detail.

The investigation team continued to ‘keep an open mind’ as the inquiry progressed but Mr McKeen added: “I can confirm there are no specific lines of inquiry in relation to other individuals at this stage that are being prioritised.”

The forensic investigation of the house at Muiredge Cottages was “progressing extremely well”, Mr McKeen added.

He said: “While that will continue over the next day or two we would again appeal for the co-operation of local residents in being mindful of the fact that this is a devastating tragedy to have befallen the family in Buckhaven and for the community itself and provide some respect to their position in terms of not visiting the scene unnecessarily.”

But he said the family “warmly appreciated” the floral tributes which had been laid.

Mr McKeen, head of CID with the force, did not disclose the nature of the siblings’ injuries.

“We are currently carrying out a thorough forensic examination of the house,” he said.

“We are not currently able to give precise details of the nature of Michelle and Ryan’s injuries.

“It has been a particularly harrowing experience for everyone involved in the investigation.”

Fife Constabulary also confirmed that extra community officers had arrived at the small community to provide extra reassurance for locals.

A spokesman said: “Officers will generally be patrolling the area, engaging people in conversation, and helping them feel more safe and secure again.”

Chief inspector Andy Morris described the incident as “a terrible tragedy which has shocked the entire community”.

Officers have set up an incident room and appealed for anyone who may have been around the Percival Road and Methilhaven Road areas, where the murders happened, to contact them.




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