Grandfather refuses to blame son-in-law for murders
on 20/07/2012 14:47:34
Ceri Fuller, 35, is believed to have stabbed son Sam, 12, and daughters Becka, eight, and Charlie, seven, to death in a secluded beauty spot before falling to his death in a quarry.
Ron Tocknell, father of the children's mother Ruth, has poured his heart out in a letter and insisted Mr Fuller was a good father who raised them with "love and joy and laughter".
He said he would never know what drove his son-in-law to do what he did but this was "not an act of malice or spite".
In an article for The Citizen newspaper, Mr Tocknell, from Lydney, Gloucestershire, wrote in turn about Mr Fuller and his three grandchildren.
"Perhaps some of you feel anger toward him. You know him only as the man who did this.
"I know him as the man who fell in love with my daughter. I know him as the man who worked tirelessly to support the family he worshipped.
"I know him as the man who, together with my daughter, raised my beautiful grandchildren in an environment of love and joy and laughter.
"Perhaps we will never understand the torment in Ceri's mind that drove him to such an act but I know that this was not an act of malice or spite.
"I weep for my daughter's pain, I weep for the loss of my grandchildren and I weep for Ceri's pain and confusion in equal measures.
"There are no villains in this dreadful episode. There are only victims. He will always remain a man I am proud to have called my son-in-law."
Mr Fuller and his children disappeared from their home in Milkwall, near Coleford, Gloucestershire, last week and their bodies were found at Poles Coppice on Pontesbury Hill, near Shrewsbury, on Monday.
West Mercia Police described the deaths as a "tragic family situation" and said one line of inquiry was that Mr Fuller killed the children before taking his own life.
Post-mortem examinations revealed that the university graduate died from multiple injuries consistent with a fall from height while his children had all suffered stab wounds. Police recovered a knife from the scene.
Mr Tocknell said he had read about tragedies like this happening to other families but never thought it would occur to his own.
"I never thought I would ever be among those who are on the receiving end of the sorrow and empathy of the entire nation and I would certainly never have wished for it," he wrote.
"I could never begin to express the comfort that the love and compassion of so many hearts and minds can bring and I can assure everyone who has shed a tear, sent out a prayer and in some way resonated with the pain, we are all feeling that your love and good wishes come home to rest.
"It is a phenomenal source of strength and for this I thank you all from the deepest recesses of my torn and ravaged heart."
Mr Tocknell spoke movingly of his three grandchildren, describing them in detail and saying how much he would miss them.
"We had them for so short a time. No grandparent should have to bury their grandchildren and no parent should have to bury their sons or daughters," he wrote.
"But this has happened and we must deal with it. Each day is hard to get through. Today has been hard, yesterday was hard and tomorrow will be hard.
"The pain will be with us forever and will never ease… but we will get stronger and we will survive this.
"Despite the nature of what occurred, there are no real villains in this terrible incident, only victims. I would ask all to suspend judgment and find compassion for all."
Today police said formal identification of Mr Fuller and his children had taken place.
"An inquest is now expected to open next week and will then be adjourned to a future date while police complete their investigations," a force spokesman added.