A woman and her teenaged son who were stabbed to death had reportedly taken the man charged with their murder into the family home.
Tracey Wilkinson, 50 and son Pierce, 13, died and husband, Peter, 47, was left fighting for his life following the triple stabbing in the West Midlands town of Stourbridge.
The family is believed to have answered the door to a man at 8am on Thursday morning shortly before the attack.
Mr Wilkinson, a millionaire businessman, remains in a critical but stable condition in hospital with his 18-year-old daughter Lydia by his side.
Officers confirmed Aaron Barley, 23, was arrested after taking Mr Wilkinson’s Land Rover which he crashed during a police chase. He has since been charged with two counts of murder and one of attempted murder.
Shocked neighbours in the leafy suburban street of Greyhound Lane told reporters the couple were “good Samaritans” with “hearts of gold” and had offered sanctuary to a young homeless man with drug problems around Christmas in 2015.
Friends said that Mrs Wilkinson, who reportedly overcame alcohol problems of her own, invited a man she found sleeping rough in late 2015 to stay in the family’s £600,000 home.
The couple are said to have later set the man up in a flat 30 miles away.
According to neighbours, Mr Wilkinson gave the man a job in his safety barrier business, but the addict fell back into drug dependency and continued to ask for money from the couple.
Mrs Wilkinson is understood to have worked as a volunteer at a centre for people with drug and alcohol addiction.
Flowers, soft toys and notes were left outside the family home by shocked friends and neighbours as a team of forensic police officers investigated.
One tribute note said poignantly: To my mate Tracey. Only the good die young. I'm going to miss you so very much. I can't believe your act of kindness had ended this way. Love you sweetheart, from Jo x x x x”.
Another in a child’s handwriting said simply: “To my friend Pierce RIP”.
Pierce was a pupil at Redhill School in Stourbridge. Headteacher Stephen Dunster, described the teenager in a statement as “a loyal, caring and conscientious pupil, who will be sadly missed by all members of our school community.
”He always met everyone with a smile and was a kind and thoughtful young man.
“He was passionate about his football team, West Bromwich Albion, and was devoted to his pet greyhound dog. He was a loving son and brother, our thoughts and prayers remain with his family, in particular his father Peter and his sister Lydia.”
Dudley Police Superintendent Lee Kendrick said on Thursday: “What has unfolded here this morning is horrific and heart-breaking. Police and ambulance were confronted with an awful scene: a man, woman and boy all with very serious stab injuries
“The woman and boy were found in the house and the man in the garden.
“Tragically there was nothing that could be done to save the woman – and her son later died in hospital from his injuries. Our hearts go out to the victims’ family and friends at this devastating news.“
He added: “Clearly our investigation is at a very early stage but we understand the suspect was known to the family and may have been living at the address – although he is not a family relative. We don’t think this was a burglary or a robbery.
“Our investigation is progressing at pace and we are working to understand exactly what the relationship was between the man and the family. At this stage we are not looking for anyone else in connection with the incident.”
Aaron Barley of no fixed address will appear before Birmingham magistrates today charged with murder and attempted murder.