Dad drugged family, murdered wife, then jumped off cliff with two young children

Two boys found dead at the bottom of cliffs were drugged by their father after he stabbed their mother to death in her bed, an inquest has heard.

Laura Cecilia Navarrete De Figueira, 47, was found with stab wounds at her home in Twickenham, south-west London, shortly before 6pm on March 5, 2018.

The bodies of Adelino Gabriel Figueira de Faria, 57, and sons Claudio, 10, and Joaquin, seven, were found on the beach at Birling Gap in Eastbourne, East Sussex, around an hour earlier.

Traces of a sedative which should only be prescribed to adults were present in both children and their mother, the inquest at West London Coroner's Court heard on Wednesday.

Forensic pathologist Charlotte Randall said the drug was found in both of the "previously fit and healthy boys".

It was not possible to say whether they jumped, fell or were pushed from the top of the 200ft cliff, Dr Randall added.

Witness Judith Wells recalled seeing a male figure appearing to hold the hands of two boys in bright red jackets as they walked away from her.

In a statement read by coroner Sean Cummings, she said: "They seemed to be walking very slowly, almost plodding along.

"The children looked tired, they were walking in a reluctant manner – not the way you would expect a child to walk unless they were tired."

She added: "The three of them were walking very slowly up the hill and I remember thinking that the children did not look like they were having a lot of fun."

The bodies of the father and his sons were later discovered by a photographer as he descended the hill.

The inquest was told that the boys' mother, Mrs Figueira, was killed in her bed either late on March 4 or early on March 5.

Officers at the family home in Twickenham described discovering her body in the master bedroom, lying on her back on the bed, with a large amount of blood around her neck and chest.

She may not have been awake when the attack started, but wounds on her hands and fingers suggest she attempted to fight back.

Bloodstained clothes and a knife, which had been put through a dishwasher cycle and may have been the weapon, were later discovered at the house, the inquest was told.

Quoting from a post-mortem report from consultant forensic pathologist Dr Olaf Biedrzycki, Mr Cummings said: "Injuries at this point could be considered as indication of so-called defensive wounds.

"For at least the initial part of the attack, the deceased was awake and alert as the attack occurred and made attempts to defend herself."

Mrs Figueira suffered more than 60 wounds, the inquest was told.

Detective Sergeant Matt Flynn, leading the investigation for the Metropolitan Police, said the evidence showed the involvement of Mr Figueira de Faria in her murder and there was no evidence of a pact.

The coroner ruled that all three members of the family were killed unlawfully, calling the attack on Mrs Figueira "particularly savage and brutal".

A separate inquest was then opened for Mr Figueira de Faria.

Notes were found on the downstairs dining room table which revealed his despair and anguish with the world, while acquaintances recalled that he had seemed depressed leading up to his death.

There was no evidence that the couple, who moved to London in November 2015 from Venezuela, had worked during their time in the UK, he said, adding that their rental tenancy was due to be imminently renewed.

He agreed that the family had potentially reached a "pinch-point" in their finances, but said they could not find one specific reason for what had taken place.

The boys were said to be happy and popular children, and there was no concern for their welfare.

Mr Cummings added that the deaths of the boys and their mother were an "inexplicable puzzle".

Concluding that Mr Figueira de Faria died by suicide, Mr Cummings said: "This is a terribly sad case and I think DS Flynn put it very well when he said that Adelino simply could not see a way forward, and the family have my sincere condolences."

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