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Please Don't Let Me Go
Steven Morris, Monday 16th July 2012 22:51
Police have launched a murder inquiry after the bodies of three children and their father were discovered at a disused quarry.
Detectives believe the bodies are those of molecular biologist Ceri Fuller, 35, his son Sam, 12, and daughters Rebecca and Charlotte, eight and seven.
They are not looking for anyone else over the tragedy and say it seems to be the result of a "tragic family situation".
The four went missing on Thursday from their home in the Forest of Dean in Gloucestershire. When they failed to make contact over the weekend, police launched an appeal for help in tracing them.
Police found the bodies at a disused quarry within woodland near Shrewsbury, about 80 miles from their home. Postmortems will take place on Tuesday and on Wednesday and officers refused to say how they believed the four had died.
Detective Chief Inspector Neil Jamieson, of West Mercia police, said: "I can confirm we are conducting a murder investigation and at this stage we are not looking for anyone else in connection with the incident. It appears to be a tragic family situation.
"The four bodies were found within 30 or 40 yards of each other. At this stage, we are not saying if a weapon is thought to have been used or if any weapon has been recovered."
Fuller and the children were reported missing after leaving home in Milkwall, near Coleford in the Forest of Dean, on Thursday.
The children did not attend school next day and Fuller failed to turn up for work as a production supervisor at a paper-mill in Lydney, Gloucestershire.
Their mother, Ruth Fuller, 34, was seen pacing up and down the road outside the couple's pebble-dashed house.
Next-door neighbour Peter Ayres, a service engineer said: "The last time I saw the wife was on Thursday morning. She was pacing up and down the road.
"I thought she might be waiting for someone. I'd never noticed any odd behaviour before.
"Our back garden backs on to theirs and the kids were always polite when they came to get their balls back. I can see their toys lined up on the windowsill. It's heart-breaking that harm has come to them."
When Fuller and the children failed to make contact with family and friends over the weekend, Gloucestershire police issued an appeal for help. Police said father and children were thought to be travelling in a red Land Rover Freelander.
The disappearance was said to be "completely out-of-character" and officers said the Fullers had not been planning a holiday.
Ron Tocknell, Ceri's father-in-law, posted on his Facebook page: "If anyone who knows Ceri has any idea of his whereabouts, please contact Glos. police immediately. We are all so worried."
But on Monday morning a member of the public spotted the Land Rover on the edge of Poles Coppice, an ancient oak woodland dotted with disused quarry workings, at Pontesbury in Shropshire.
The police were called, sealed off the site and searched the woodland, quickly finding the bodies. At a press conference West Mercia police said the bodies had not been formally identified but they believed they were Fuller and the children.
Detectives appealed for people who had seen the car and the family in particular on Thursday to come forward. They are thought to have been in the Leominster areas at noon and in Welshpool later that afternoon.
The two schools that the three children attended paid tribute.
Jan Wagstaff, headteacher of St John's Church of England primary, said: "Rebecca and Charlotte were absolutely delightful children and a pleasure to have in school. Sam was also a pupil here before he moved on to Lakers.
He was a lot of fun and always had a ready smile. They will all be very sadly missed. Our thoughts and prayers are with their family."
Alison Elliott, head of Lakers School, said: "We are desperately sad to hear the family are having to face such a dreadful situation. Sam was a well loved member of our extended family here at Lakers. Our thoughts are with the family at this very tragic time. We have arrangements in place to support students, staff, friends and family at this very difficult time."