Then he swallowed slug pellets, weed killer and paracetamol, before hanging himself.
No one, of course, had glimpsed the real Robert. Always a quiet man, had few male friends, and had been diagnosed with depression.
He also had terrible financial problems. He was hundreds of thousands of pounds in debt and the creditors were closing in.
Family annihilators – white, middle-aged men facing crisis
He fitted the pattern of what American criminologists have termed the ‘family annihilator’. These are often white, middle-aged men, considered to be good fathers until their murderous breakdowns.
However, they are usually facing some catastrophic loss – financial, sexual, divorce. Robert had been visiting a prostitute, and Catherine had had an affair, but it is possible that the loss of their lifestyle through his debts was the main factor here.
The family annihilator is often methodical. He plans carefully to avert hurting – or so he believes –the victims he loved and – so he believes – is trying to protect.
We can see the pattern, we can see the twisted logic. But it’s still a desperately warped and horrendous act.