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Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Parricide - Jealous rage - To take revenge on her former partner for ‘rejecting’ her and starting a new relationship with an old school friend
Number of victims: 2
Date of murder: January 26, 2010
Date of arrest: 2 days after (surrenders)
Date of birth: 1966
Victim profile: Her two young children, Harry, 3, and Elise, 2
Method of murder: Suffocation with pillow
Location: Heathfield, East Sussex, England, United Kingdom
Status: Sentenced to two life sentences, with a minimum of 32 years, on August 9, 2011
photo gallery

The UK was rocked when 45 year old Fiona Donnison showed up in front of local authorities to confess that she had killed her two small children and was turning herself in. Police in Heathfied, Sussex thought that the woman was intoxicated when she arrived at their offices. Suspicion was raised when they noticed the cuts on her wrists.

Fiona Donnison smothered her three year old son and two year old daughter, as a way to pay their father back for leaving her. When he began another relationship with an old school friend, Donnison showed up at the lover’s home to warn that he would never see the children again. She suffocated the children, placed them each in a duffel bag and placed them in the trunk of her car. She turned herself in later on that evening.

After her incarceration, it came to light that Fiona may have also been the cause of the death of the couple’s first child, Mia, when the infant was nine months old. It was originally believed that the child died from what is known as “cot death”; the equivalent of America’s SIDS. After re-examination, Fiona Donnison was charged with the death of the infant, in addition to the other 2 deaths. It was alleged that to strike back at her lover for attending a function for his ex-wife, Fionna smothered the child. A judge later dismissed the additional charges. Donnison was convicted of 2 counts of murder and sentenced to 32 years in jail.


Woman who smothered her two toddlers in jealous rage may have killed her baby girl years earlier

Boy, three, and girl, two, were smothered to death to spite their father

By Emily Andrews

August 10, 2011

A mother found guilty of murdering her two young children to get back at their father may have killed another child years earlier, it emerged yesterday.

Fiona Donnison, 45, was found guilty of suffocating Harry, three, and Elise, two, after a bitter split from their father Paul.

She used them as the ‘ultimate weapon’ to take revenge on her former partner for ‘rejecting’ her and starting a new relationship with an old school friend.

But yesterday as she was jailed for life for the murders, it emerged that police also believe she may have killed the couple’s first child, Mia, who died aged nine months.

When detectives found the bodies of Harry and Elise in the boot of her car, they re-examined the circumstances of Mia’s death in 2004.

At the time, a post-mortem examination determined that she had died from cot death, but Donnison was charged with her murder last year.

It was alleged the former City insurance manager smothered the baby because she was furious with her partner for attending his ex-wife’s birthday party.

In a distressing 999 call, she was heard screaming down the phone, before calmly saying: ‘She’s not moving at all. Her eyes are completely shut. Oh no. What have I done?’

A judge dismissed the charge because of a lack of evidence, and the jury trying Harry and Elise’s murders were never told she had been charged.

Whatever the truth of Mia’s death, it had the effect of keeping the couple together. Mr Donnison was sharing a house with his ex-wife Linda and two older children, but after Mia’s death he moved in with Donnison in 2005 because he wanted to help her with such an ‘extraordinary loss’.

Yesterday, as she was jailed for two life sentences, with a minimum of 32 years, Judge Mr Justice Nicol described the murders as ‘deliberate and wicked acts’.

He said: ‘The premature end of such young lives would have been a tragedy, but this was
no accident. You killed them – you, who were their mother.’

Donnison’s defence was always that she was mad, not bad. She went to great lengths to try to convince the police, her family, and the courts that she had lost her mind and had no memory of what she had done.

But at the heart of this case was a cold-blooded killer who, once she had lost control over the man she loved, was hell-bent on the ultimate revenge.

In an emotional address on the steps of the court, Mr Donnison, 48, called for the death penalty while criticising the criminal justice system, saying he had fewer rights than his children’s killer.

‘Taking a life is the most obscene act that anyone can commit, which in my view should receive an equal punishment,’ he said. ‘The pain and agony my family and I have suffered over the last year and a half over the murder of my beautiful children, Harry and Elise, has been almost unbearable.

‘The lives of these two beautiful, innocent and wonderful babies were taken from them in a most horrible and disgusting way. They did not stand a chance. The saddest thing today is that they will not grow older and enjoy their lives.’

Mr Donnison, who was questioned at length by defence counsel over his relationship with old schoolfriend Alison Shimmens, said he often felt that he was the one on trial, while Donnison was treated with ‘kid gloves’.

He said: ‘The horror of having to live with the murder of Harry and Elise was compounded by the clear ability of their murderer, despite admitting to the killings and being detained, to have more rights and considerations than I have.’

Paul Donnison was working as an insurance underwriter at a Lloyds syndicate in London when he met Fiona. Both were married at the time with two children each, but what started as a platonic friendship moved to something more.

Fiona Donnison, who left school at 18 and worked in Spain as a nanny for five years before landing her high-powered job as a credit manager, became pregnant in the first months of their relationship and gave birth to Mia in 2003.

The baby’s death less than a year later brought the couple closer together but by all accounts she pulled the strings in their relationship.

The couple never married, but Donnison changed her name by deed poll. By January last year, Mr Donnison had had enough of her jealousy and manipulative behaviour and broke off the relationship.

Lewes Crown Court was told that Donnison then used Harry and Elise as the ‘ultimate and final weapon’ to get back at him for starting a new relationship with Miss Shimmens.

After she smothered the toddlers at her rented house in Lightwater, Surrey, on January 26 last year, she put their bodies in two sports holdalls in the boot of their car. She then drove 90 miles to Heathfield, East Sussex, armed with two kitchen knives and stopped to buy sleeping pills on the way. She expected Mr Donnison to be at the marital home, but he was spending the night with Miss Shimmens.

Several hours later she walked into a police station saying she had murdered her children.

Mr Donnison’s brother, Mark, 46, said the family believed it was her original plan to either kill Paul and blame the children’s death on him, or frame him for the murders.

He added: ‘Paul will never get over this. He is absolutely devastated. Those children were his life and now he will never see them grow up. Everything has been taken away from him.’


With their cute smiles and loving nature, little Harry and Elise Donnison were every inch the 'brightest' lights that their father described.

Paul Donnison said after the tragedy that he could not comprehend how their mother could have killed them, and told of how he had been looking forward to seeing them grow up.

In a statement issued after their deaths, he said: 'Harry and Elise were the lights that shone the brightest in my life and I am unable to begin to comprehend why this has happened to them.

'I love them with all my heart and they in turn gave me the unconditional love that only a child can give a parent.

'Every day that I saw them was precious and wonderful but I had no idea just how precious.

'They were only babies and I was looking forward to watching them grow up and, with their mum, help them to live their lives.'

During their mother Fiona Donnison's trial, prosecutors said the pair were 'described by everyone who knew them as delightful, well-mannered, affectionate children'.

During his own evidence, Mr Donnison told jurors he 'couldn't have been happier' when Harry and Elise were born in 2006 and 2008 respectively.

He said Harry was a typical naughty toddler, describing him as a 'pickle'.

When he was too much of a handful he would be made to sit on the 'naughty step' at the bottom of the stairs where he could be seen from most of the downstairs rooms of the house.

But he denied accusations made against him by the defendant that he had once grabbed Harry after he refused to eat his dinner and held his face by his chin in order to make him say the word sorry, and said he was never banished to his bedroom for long periods of time as their mother claimed.

Describing how he last saw the children in Meadowside, the family home, Mr Donnison's voice broke as he told jurors: 'Harry was in his pyjamas and he came over and wrapped his little arms around me and we hugged and I gave him the toy and I was kneeling down.

'He had his arms around my shoulders and my neck and I was cuddling him.

'And Fiona was standing two or three feet away with a look of absolute hatred and evil on her face. Harry was then shooed back into his bedroom.

'That was the last time I saw him alive.

'I then went to Elise's bedroom and she was peacefully asleep. I gave her a peck on the cheek, she just wiggled her nose.

'She didn't wake. And that was the last time I saw Elise.'

Jenny Woodhouse, the director of Huffle Nursery in Heathfield, also became emotional as she spoke of the children.

Harry and Elise had attended the nursery school since they were both very young.

She said: 'They were lovely children. They were very well-behaved children.

'We had a huge input with him. We saw a lot of Harry in particular and in the end Elise as well so the staff were very involved with their early years.

'Harry was a very, very quiet baby, but when he got a little older he was a much more open child.'


Wife watched me put children to bed 'with look of absolute hatred and evil on her face', father tells murder trial

By Emily Andrews -

July 14, 2011

The father of two children allegedly smothered by their mother broke down in tears yesterday as he told a jury: ‘They were the only thing she could hurt me with.’

Paul Donnison, 48, described how the last time he saw Harry and Elise alive their mother, Fiona Donnison, watched with ‘a look of absolute hatred and evil on her face’.

Giving evidence against his former partner, he said the ‘manipulative’ and ‘controlling’ 45-year-old had made his life a ‘nightmare’ after she moved out of the family home without warning, taking the children with her.

And he maintained that an affair with new lover Alison Shimmens, whom he had met through a Friends Reunited school reunion, only started after he had finally ended their ‘pantomime relationship’.

The bodies of three-year-old Harry and Elise, two, were found zipped into two holdalls in the boot of her car near the former family home in Heathfield, East Sussex, on January 27 last year.

They were most likely suffocated with pillows the night before at Donnison’s rented house in Lightwater, Surrey, the jury was told.

With tears rolling down his face, Mr Donnison told a hushed court of the last time he saw Harry and Elise, on January 24. He had returned from a business trip to the U.S. to find his former partner and the children staying, unannounced, in the family home.

‘I had a little police car for Harry,’ he said. ‘He came over and wrapped his little arms around me and we were hugging.

‘Fiona was standing two or three feet away and had a look of absolute hatred and evil on her face. Fiona shooed him back into his bedroom and that was the last time I saw him alive.

‘I went into Elise’s bedroom, she was peacefully asleep and I gave her a peck on the cheek. She wiggled her nose but didn’t wake up.That was the last time I saw Elise.’

Mr Donnison, an insurance broker, refused to look at his ex-partner as she sat in the dock of Lewes Crown Court with her head bowed.

Psychiatrists who examined her after her arrest diagnosed her as having a narcissistic personality with an inflated sense of her own importance and entitlement.

The jury heard the couple never married during their nine-year relationship but she changed her name by deed poll without telling him.

Mr Donnison said he was left stunned when he arrived home in September 2009 to find his partner, a former City worker, had left the family home without warning, taking the children. They attempted a reconciliation several times but she would suddenly change her mind.

He added: ‘As long as she had control of the children, she had control of me. She knew they (the children) were my life. They were the only thing she could hurt me with.’

Mr Donnison admitted he had started seeing old school friend Mrs Shimmens but said their friendship was strictly platonic until he ended his relationship with the defendant on January 14. Over the next couple of days he and Mrs Shimmens became intimate.

He said Mrs Donnison's being made redundant in July had been a 'massive blow to her ego' because she thought she was too valuable and important to let go.

Just one day before she left, taking Harry and Elise and her two teenage sons from her previous marriage to a secret address, they had all returned from a happy family holiday in Ireland.

He had gone to work as normal on the Monday and returned to find the house empty, a note on the kitchen table explaining it was for the 'sake of the children' and that she would be in touch.

He said: 'I have absolutely no knowledge this was happening. I was completely and utterly stunned.

'I can't express how I felt when I walked in the house. I just ran around the house, completely disbelieving what I was seeing.

'Your children have gone, you don;t know where they are, you don't know the reason why they are gone.'

He said for the next three weeks, she played games with him, using the children to control him by telling him when and where he could see them, speaking of reconciliation one minute and being cold and argumentative the next.

He said he was 'absolutely stunned' again when he learned she had moved into a house 100 yards away from his ex-wife and children, from whom he Was estranged.

He said: 'It made Fiona the focus of attention. It disturbed me and I know it disturbed my ex-wife.'

On a pre-arranged family day out, he told the court Donnison saw a text message on his mobile from Alison Shimmens, who he had reconnected with at a Friend's Reunited party for pupils from his school year, with whom he would later start a romantic relationship.

He said: 'The relationship only started in January when Fiona and I finished our relationship.

'Fiona was angry, making accusations of an affair. Then she said she had made a terrible mistake, she wanted me back.' 

Donnison denies two counts of murder. The case continues.


If he's sleeping with you he will never see the kids: 'Killer mother's threat to partner's lover

By Emily Andrews -

July 13, 2011

A mother smothered her two young children after telling her partner’s new lover ‘if he’s sleeping with you, he will never see the kids’, a court heard yesterday.

Fiona Donnison, 45, felt ‘rejected’ after a bitter split from her partner Paul, who had gone on to start a new relationship with an old school friend.

Ten days before three-year-old Harry and Elise, two, were killed, the former City worker rang Alison Shimmens to make the chilling threat, it was alleged.

Christine Laing QC, prosecuting, said that on more than one occasion she went to Mrs Shimmens’ house in Surrey ‘to warn her off him’ and told the 48-year-old: ‘Why don’t you leave him alone?’

Psychiatrists who examined Donnison after her arrest diagnosed her as having a narcissistic personality, an inflated sense of her own importance and entitlement.

Lewes Crown Court was told that Paul Donnison, 48, and the defendant had never married, but she had taken his name by deed poll.

They separated in September 2009 when she abruptly left the £450,000 family home in Heathfield, East Sussex, taking the children.

Donnison had recently been made redundant from her job as a credit manager for a Lloyd’s insurance syndicate, St Paul Syndicate Management, and was convinced Mr Donnison was seeing someone else.

He attempted a reconciliation but on January 14 last year told his partner of eight years their relationship was over.

Miss Laing said: ‘He’d reached a point that he felt her behaviour was such that he could never give enough and the relationship was over.

We say it was that conversation that was the terrible catalyst for what was to follow. Not only had Paul Donnison rejected her but now he was free to pursue his relationship with Alison Shimmens.’

Describing the development of that relationship, Miss Laing said: ‘They had exchanged text messages but they maintained they were just friends.

‘In mid-January 2010 their relationship became physical. The defendant thought their relationship was much more than friends before this.’

The children’s bodies were found in the boot of Donnison’s Nissan car on the morning of January 27 last year, zipped into separate sports bags with Elise dressed in a pink romper suit and Harry in red Roary the Racing Car pyjamas.

Miss Laing said they had most likely been suffocated with pillows as they slept at Donnison’s rented house in Lightwater, Surrey, the evening before. She had then driven the 90 miles to the former family home to wait for her estranged partner. She was armed with two kitchen knives, allegedly to kill him and blame him for the children’s deaths.

But he did not return home, as he was staying at Mrs Shimmens’ house. The next morning, Donnison walked into a police station saying: ‘I’ve killed my children.’ She had cuts to one wrist, had swallowed a number of sleeping tablets and spoke in a monotone.

The court was told that in the days before their death, Donnison had falsely accused Mr Donnison of assaulting her, broken into the Sussex house by throwing a brick through the window and refused to leave when police were called.

But Miss Laing said: ‘It was clear to the defendant at this stage that her wish to maximise the disruption to Paul Donnison’s life and his relationship with the children was not succeeding.

‘By any normal standards of human decency it is almost impossible to conceive using children as the ultimate pawns by killing them to truly wreak revenge on their father for having rejected the defendant, and taken up with someone else.

‘But we say that the defendant’s self-regard was such that it is exactly what she did.’

PC Toby Young choked back tears as he told the court how he had found the two toddlers wrapped in blankets in Donnison’s car. They were beyond help. In the car, police found what appeared to be a hand-written suicide note addressed to Donnison’s two teenage sons from her marriage.

Part of the note said: ‘I am so sorry that I won’t be there to see you grow up. I loved you all more than life itself.’

Donnison denies two counts of murder. The case continues.


'We love you, Fiona': Relatives of smothered toddlers' mother call out in court as she is charged with their murder

By Rebecca Camber and James Mills -

January 29, 2010

The mother of two toddlers whose bodies were found in holdalls in the boot of her car was remanded in custody today charged with their murders.

Three-year-old Harry and Elise Donnison, two, were found by officers after their mother, Fiona Donnison, attended Heathfield police station in East Sussex in a distressed state on Wednesday.

Donnison, 43, of Lightwater, Surrey, appeared at Lewes Magistrates' Court accused of the double murders between January 25 and 28 after being charged by Sussex Police early  today.

Flanked by two security guards, Donnison, wearing a long blue jumper, held her hands clasped in front of her as she spoke only to confirm her name, date of birth and address during the 10-minute hearing.

There was no application for bail and no plea was entered during the hearing.

The case was adjourned and Donnison will next appear at Lewes Crown Court for a preliminary hearing on February 12.

About half a dozen relatives were in court, some of whom became visibly upset as Donnison entered the dock.

As she was led away following the hearing, two people shouted, 'We love you, Fiona' and 'We love you, Fi.'

Initial post-mortem examinations revealed the children died from asphyxia and had been dead for less than 24 hours when they were found in Donnison's silver Nissan car, parked near the former family home in Heathfield.

Former City worker Donnison, who was estranged from her husband, Paul, was discharged from Eastbourne District General Hospital last night after being treated for apparently self-inflicted wounds.

Detectives said toxicology results are awaited in the coming days before the cause of death of the toddlers can be confirmed.

Mr Donnison issued a statement through police last night describing Harry and Elise as 'the lights that shone the brightest in my life'.

A statement from Sussex police said: 'Following professional medical assessment at Eastbourne District General Hospital, Mrs Donnison was released into police custody late on Friday evening and taken to Eastbourne Custody Centre.

'Detectives, led by Det Ch Insp Steve Johns from Sussex Police's Major Crime Branch, were given authority to charge her with the murders at 1.54am on Saturday and she was remanded in custody.'

Mr Donnison spoke of the 'beauty and joy' his children brought to the world as he paid tribute to them last night.

In a statement issued by Sussex Police, he said: 'Harry and Elise were the lights that shone the brightest in my life and I am unable to begin to comprehend why this has happened to them.

'I love them with all my heart and they in turn gave me the unconditional love that only a child can give a parent.

'Every day that I saw them was precious and wonderful but I had no idea just how precious.'

He thanked friends and family for their support, and added: 'That their lives have been taken away in the most cruel way that I am unable to understand.

'I will always love Harry and Elise and will never let a day go by without thinking of their beauty and the joy they gave to me in their short lives.'

Mr Donnison had previously expressed concerns about his children's safety while under the care of his estranged wife, a family friend said.

Sussex Police confirmed the force made contact with the couple before the children's deaths, but did not give further details.

On Wednesday, Mrs Donnison, 43, walked into a police station. Officers were directed to her car where they found the bodies of the children who had been bundled into separate sports holdalls.

Police are facing questions about their handling of the case because officers were called to the family's home several times, the last time being on Tuesday night.

Social services had known of serious problems within the family for six months after a series of reports of domestic violence.

The couple separated last September and Mrs Donnison moved with her two children from Heathfield in East Sussex to rented accommodation in Surrey.

With her marriage falling apart after the cot death of their first child, Mia Florence, and the stress of mounting credit card debts, her behaviour became increasingly erratic.

The loss of Mia in April 2004, is said to have sent Mrs Donnison into a deep depression.

Yesterday her accounts manager husband told friends: 'I do not hate Fiona. I adored my children. I just wish she could obtain the professional psychiatric help she so badly needs.'

She had reported Mr Donnison to police, claiming he had assaulted her. The father, who denied the claims, warned officers he feared for the safety of his children.

He returned home from work on Sunday night to discover that his wife had barricaded herself and the children inside the family's £500,000 East Sussex home where he was living alone.

Police were called and officers kept the peace while Mr Donnison packed an overnight bag and said a tearful goodbye to his family.

The house had been turned upside down with cupboards locked, pictures turned around and keys hidden.

The next day when Mrs Donnison left, her husband changed the locks.

But she returned on Tuesday and threw a brick through a side window to get in. Police were called and Mr Donnison left the house at 8.40pm.

The next day his wife, who was a City worker, slashed her wrists before walking into the police station in Heathfield which is just 300 yards from the family home.

Last November, custody of O, 12, and W, 15, her sons from a previous marriage, was given to her ex-husband Derek McCrow who she divorced in 2003.

Social services in East Sussex and Surrey were alerted to problems within the family.

But after carrying out an assessment, social workers decided not to take the children into care despite evidence of domestic violence.

Susan Butcher, a close family friend, said: 'He [Mr Donnison] told us his wife had a history of broken relationships with family members, lengthy periods of refusing to speak and mildly abhorrent behaviour.

'When they first met he discovered she had colossal debts and he cleared them for her.

'Fiona was then made redundant and was unsuccessful at finding a new job.'

She said the couple tried to get back together over Christmas but their relationship disintegrated quickly.

'Paul told us she had now amassed another £30,000-worth of credit card debt,' she added.


Killer mum ‘gave kids her sedative'

By Anthony France, Tom Wells, Alex Peake, Andy Crick and Gary O'Shea -

January 29, 2010

The trusting toddlers are believed to have been killed by marriage-split mum Fiona, 43.

Harry, three, and Elise, two, were found in her car boot when she drove to a police station in Heathfield, East Sussex.

Cops fear the City high-flier drugged and smothered them after knocking them out with sleeping drug Nytol.

Shocked cops found the tots after their deranged mum drove her Nissan to a police station to declare: “I’ve killed my children."

Donnison, 43, who recently lost her job and just weeks ago split from her husband, was last night under police guard in hospital where she was being treated for slashed wrists.

Detectives were examining what were feared to be suicide notes found beside the tiny corpses — which had been wrapped in bin liners and each stuffed into a separate sports bag.

The mum regularly took over-the-counter Nytol pills.

An overdose can cause asphyxiation but cops believe SHE suffocated the sleeping children.

The toddlers died from lack of breath just hours before they were found, according to police who were trying to piece together the final days of the little victims.

Initial post mortem results showed signs of asphyxiation.

A neighbour in Lightwater, Surrey, told how Mrs Donnison disappeared from her rented house with the two kids last week — then returned ALONE on Saturday to spend the weekend scrubbing the place clean.

Yvonne Meyer, 68, noticed a “to let” sign had already gone up.

She said: “I presumed she’d come to the end of her tenancy and was tidying up the place. You could see her through the windows.

“Her car was there at 8am on Monday but by 9am she’d gone."

Just weeks earlier the killer mum, who had worked in the City as an insurance manager for a Lloyds syndicate, joined a Facebook website group called “I Love My Kids”.

But on Wednesday she walked into a police station 66 miles away in Heathfield, East Sussex — where the divorcee lived with new husband Paul until their split last month.

The couple’s ex-nanny, who identified herself only as Jo, yesterday described Harry and Elise as “lovely, normal, happy kids”.

She said of Mrs Donnison: “She doted on them. She was just a real mumsy mum.” The nanny was initially employed to look after two older children from Mrs Donnison’s previous marriage — Will, now 16, and Ollie, 13.

Dennis McCrow, Mrs Donnison’s father-in-law from her previous marriage to his son Derek, said Ollie and Will left home to live with her ex-husband last year.

Mr McCrow, 84, from Hoddesdon, Hertfordshire, said: “They moved in with their father by court order around about November last year.

“I don’t think the boys got on very well with their mother or their stepfather (Paul) but I don’t know the full facts.”

Mr McCrow said Mrs Donnison was a “good mother” and added: “I found her to be quite a nice person, actually.”

Speaking of the tragedy, he said: “Something must’ve really triggered for that to happen. I can only imagine it was something between her and her husband.

“I just feel so sad about it all."

He added that he had not spoken to Mrs Donnison since she and his son divorced about seven years ago following a marriage which lasted about ten years.

Mr McCrow said Mrs Donnison’s father had been a police officer in Scotland, where her mother still lives in Forres, Morayshire.

She was said to have been left heartbroken by her father’s death in her younger years.

Mr McCrow said: “I don’t think she really got over it.”

The mum later met her new husband Paul and became pregnant with their first child Mia, who fell victim to cot death in 2004 at the age of 15 months. Grief-stricken Mrs Donnison is thought to have sought treatment for depression.

Speaking outside the three-storey detached family house in Heathfield — now sold — Jo the nanny said: “She was just like any mother would be — absolutely devastated.”

By the time her new marriage collapsed, Mrs Donnison had become mum to Harry and Elise.

She and the kids moved out of the family home to the rented three-bed house in Lightwater — which bizarrely is where her estranged husband’s FIRST wife Linda lives.

Yesterday both houses were sealed off as forensic experts combed them.

Nytol was among pills believed to have been found.

A police source said: “We know Fiona was a regular user of Nytol and one line of inquiry is that she drugged Harry and Elise and smothered them.

“We need to wait for the toxicology results.”

Mrs Donnison’s silver T-reg Nissan was being painstakingly examined. The toddlers’ heartbroken gran June Donnison said of the horror: “We can’t even begin to understand it. Paul is in a mess. It’s just awful.”

The children’s great-aunt Ivy Donnison, 78, said in Newmarket, Suffolk: “They were two beautiful babies. Harry was a gorgeous child — such a little gentleman.”mpu

He is seen sitting in a high chair in the first poignant photo to emerge of the toddler — clad in his nursery school’s navy sweatshirt.

Wendy Brooks, his devastated teacher at Lightwater pre-school, described him as “fun loving”.

She said: “We have Harry and Elise in our thoughts.”

Back in Heathfield, neighbour Michael Knowles, 74, said: “To think something so horrendous has happened to those delightful little children is heartbreaking.”

The children’s great-aunt, Ivy Donnison, 78, said: “They were really beautiful children. You couldn’t fault the way they had been brought up.”

She said their deaths had placed a “big strain” on the family.

Last night detectives were still waiting to quiz Mrs Donnison, who was described as “stable” in Eastbourne District General Hospital with “apparent self-harm injuries."



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