Grieving relatives of a Leeds family of four who died in a suspected triple murder and suicide will finally be able to begin the process of laying their loved ones to rest next week.
An opening inquest into the deaths of Richard Smith, wife Clair and sons Ben, nine, and Aaron, one, is expected to be held on Thursday and would allow the bodies of the four to be released by investigators for burial.
Football coach and shop fitter Richard, 37, is believed to have killed his family at their Pudsey home last weekend before taking his own life. As police focused their investigation on Richard’s life outside the family home, the community was starting to recover from the shattering events of the past week.
The pile of floral tributes outside the family’s home in Sheridan Way continued to grow, with messages from Ben’s school friends at Greenside Primary School, and fellow players and families at Pudsey Juniors football club, particularly poignant.
A message from Ben’s apparent school sweetheart included a heart shape and the words ‘I love you boyfriend! I will never forget you EVER! from Isobel xxxxx’.
Other tributes included a hand-drawn picture showing a boy, some sprigs of holly and a football, and the simple words ‘Ben Smith’.
A Leeds United football shirt signed by several people including ‘Jamie’ and ‘Aunty Rose’, bore the words: ‘We will never know why this tragedy happened. What we do know is that your [sic] gonna be missed.’ Tribute website Gone Too Soon was also flooded with messages. Melanie Key, said: “You were loved by so many people and the tragedy of your loss has been felt far and wide. Clair, I’m honored to have known you from our childhood. May you all rest in peace together.”