Two young brothers who died alongside their mother are believed to have been strangled and were found dead together in an upstairs bedroom, a coroner’s court heard on Friday.
Alexander, nine, and Maximus, seven, were found dead at their family home in Mayfield Road, Belvedere, south-east London along with their mother Nadja De-Jager.
In the aftermath of the tragic discovery at 11.50am on March 9, the Met Police called it a “deeply sad case” where they were not actively looking for other suspects.
At the opening of the inquests on Friday morning, Detective Inspector Ollie Stride briefly described how all three were found.
“The boys were both found in the upstairs bedroom of the residential home”, he told Croydon coroner’s court.
“Max was on the bed and Alex was lying on the floor next to the bed.
“A post mortem took place at St Thomas’ Hospital on March 14.
“The provisional cause of death for Alex and Max is ligature compression of the neck, pending further investigations.”
The brothers were both identified by their grieving father, the court was told.
Turning to the boy’s mother, DI Stride said she was also found dead at the family home, with a post mortem provisionally concluding she had died from “suspension”.
Paramedics had rushed to the scene after the discovery of the bodies, but mother and children were all declared dead at the scene.
Coroner Sarah Ormond-Walshe adjourned the inquest hearing until the conclusion of the police investigation, which is expected to take at least six months while medical reports are finalised.
“The father and other member of the family have a (police) liaison officer looking after them”, she noted. No members of the family were present for today’s hearing.
Following the deaths, Belvedere Infant and Junior School paid tribute pupils Alexander and Maximus, describing them as “loving and caring”. “Alex and Max were truly wonderful members of our school community and we will remember them with great fondness and love”, the school said in a statement. “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.”
Neighbours of the family called the news “heartbreaking”, and one, Dawn Porter, said: “It’s very sad, you just want answers when something like this happens.”
Detective Inspector Ollie Stride called it a “deeply sad case”, and added: “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.”