England

Mum and child Beachy Head deaths 'Father's Day revenge'

Leo Tompsett Image copyright Sussex Police
Image caption Five-year-old Leo Tompsett was found dead with his mother

A mother who killed herself and her five-year-old after losing a custody battle could have acted in revenge on Father's Day, a report has said.

Cheryl and Leo Tompsett, from Maidstone, died at the Beachy Head cliffs in East Sussex on 17 June last year and were found the next morning.

A serious case review of Leo's death said his mother's intent was unknown.

But it said one explanation was it was "spousal revenge intended as a mechanism to hurt her ex-partner".

The serious case review said the theory "could be supported by the death having occurred on Father's Day".

The report also said Ms Tompsett had been described by her older children as a "narcissist", but as there was no indication before the event of her intention to physically harm Leo it is "impossible to be clear about her motivation".

It listed a series of domestic abuse incidents perpetrated by Mrs Tompsett, followed by an application by the father for Leo to live with him.

Image copyright Eddie Mitchell
Image caption Emergency teams discovered the bodies at about 07:00 BST on 18 June

The review said on 7 June, Mrs Tompsett had found it difficult to accept the family court decision on custody and six days later she faced talks about termination of her job.

On 17 June, she had contact with Leo but failed to return by the agreed time and later that evening killed herself and her son at the cliffs near Eastbourne.

The review, making six recommendations, found there was no evidence of significant abuse to Leo before his death and the major concern identified by the family had been a risk of emotional harm from his mother.

"As with any review there have been identified some areas where professional practice could be improved, however, there is no evidence that this would have led to a different outcome," it said.

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