School pays tribute to ‘loving and caring’ boys found dead in house with mother
Tributes have been paid to two “loving and caring” pupils found dead at a house in south London with their mother.
Alexander De Jager, nine, and his seven-year-old brother Maximus were pronounced dead at the scene in Mayfield Road, Belvedere, alongside their 47-year-old mother Nadja De Jager, on Thursday, the Metropolitan Police said.
Belvedere Infant and Junior School said the youngsters were “model pupils”, adding that it was “clear that they were each other’s best friend”.
Officers forced entry into the property after being called about concerns for the welfare of the occupants at the address at around 11.50am.
The Met said detectives are not seeking anyone else in connection with the investigation.
Paying tribute to the two boys, a spokeswoman for the school said: “It is with great sadness that we can confirm that two of our pupils, Alexander and Maximus De Jager, died at home this week.
“Alex and Max were truly wonderful members of our school community and we will remember them with great fondness and love.
“They were loving and caring boys who had a real hunger to learn. Both were model pupils and it was clear that they were each other’s best friend.
“They will be hugely missed by pupils and staff alike, and forever be part of our hearts at Belvedere.”
The school said plans would be shared for a “fitting memorial” for the boys in the near future.
The spokeswoman added: “Our deepest condolences are with the family and their friends during this difficult time and in due course we will share details of a fitting memorial for the brothers at Belvedere.
“For now, our immediate priority has been to make sure we have support in place for the children and staff to help them come to terms with what has happened, including through specialist counselling.
“The death of any child is a terrible tragedy, but our school community will come together to grieve and to be there for each other. Belvedere is a warm and loving place and we will come through this together.”
At the scene on Friday, neighbours described the deaths as “heart-breaking” and an “absolute tragedy”.
Dawn Porter, who lived on Mayfield Road near Ms De Jager and her sons, said: “I don’t think it’s properly sunk in, I feel kind of physically sick thinking about what has gone on.
“It’s very sad, you just want answers when something like this happens.”
Officers were seen going door to door conducting inquiries on Friday, and a forensic van was parked near the house where a children’s basketball hoop sat in the driveway.
The force said next-of-kin had been informed and post-mortem examinations would be arranged in due course.
The Met’s Specialist Crime Command is leading the investigation.
A spokesman for London Ambulance Service (LAS) said they sent a medic in a fast response car and two incident response officers to the scene after being called at 12.16pm.
Detective Inspector Ollie Stride said: “This is a deeply sad case and we are continuing to establish the circumstances that led to this tragic incident.
“Our thoughts today are very much with the family as they struggle to come to terms with their loss and we ask that their privacy be respected at this extremely difficult time.”