‘I’ve murdered my entire family . . . ‘ — (The Northern Echo)

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The Northern Echo

DETECTIVES investigating the deaths of two children, their mother and her brother told last night how a man had phoned to say: “I’ve murdered my entire family.”

Police found the bodies of five-year-old Steven Crampton and his sister, Abigail, 12, lying close to their beds in their North-East home.

They were both wearing pyjamas.

The bodies of the children’s mother, Olufunke Sobo, who was also known as Liz, and their uncle, Yemi Sobo, 41, a nightclub photographer, were found downstairs.

The children’s father – 33-year-old ex-taxi driver Neil Crampton – has been arrested in connection with the deaths.

It is believed all four were stabbed to death, although detectives have not revealed how they were killed, other than that they were the victims of a sustained, violent attack.

The children’s grandmother, Tunde Sobo, who was wrongly named as a victim in some national newspapers yesterday, also lived at the house, in Hawthorn Gardens, Kenton, Newcastle. She returned from a holiday in her native Nigeria yesterday to find her home sealed off behind a police cordon.

Mrs Sobo was then told about the deaths.

Police arrested Mr Crampton outside his parents’ home in the afternoon. He had been taking Prozac tablets for depression before the attack.

Officers hope they will be able to begin questioning him this morning. He has been receiving medical treatment for injuries since he was arrested.

Detective Superintendent Steve Wade, who is leading the investigation, said the police received a call from a landline at 8.50am on Tuesday.

“He actually said ‘I’ve murdered my entire family’ and then he hung up,” Det Supt Wade told a news conference at Byker police station.

“The call-taker tried to get more information but the phone went dead.

“However, he had given an address where he was calling from.”

Det Supt Wade said officers were confronted by a gruesome scene, but the caller had fled.

Mr Sobo was found in the hallway and his sister in the living room at the back of the house. The children were upstairs.

Det Supt Wade added: “We believe they were in their beds at the time of the attack, but it is the subject of forensic investigation. They were in their pyjamas, the adults were fully clothed.

“There was a sign of a struggle in various parts of the house. We need to piece together what happened.”

A friend of the 36-year-old Asda worker rang her at 11pm the previous night and all seemed to be well, Det Supt Wade said.

There was no sign of a break-in.

However, Det Supt Wade revealed: “A neighbour heard some activity at 11pm on Monday evening, so there is a possibility the killer spent the night in the house with the bodies.”

Mr Wade said there was no record of domestic violence between Ms Sobo and her former partner.

Mr Crampton’s parents, Bill and Ann, were out buying Christmas presents when police swooped on their home in Winlaton, Gateshead, yesterday, as Mr Crampton arrived in his Ford Focus car.

The vehicle has been taken away for forensic analysis.

Det Supt Wade said he had spoken to the Sobo family and the family of the arrested man.

He said: “Both sets of families are devastated by what has happened. They are completely in shock and it’s going to take them for ever, I would imagine, to get over what has happened.

“It’s a horrific crime, the scene itself is terrible, but we need to deal with it.”

Det Supt Wade said forensic teams were still at the house in Hawthorn Gardens.

He said establishing a motive would be a major line of inquiry.

The mother, known as Funke for short, was also known as Elizabeth or Liz by friends and colleagues at the Asda store in Gosforth.

The detective said the house was owned by her mother, who was born in Nigeria but is a British citizen and has lived in this country for 50 years.

He said: “Very sadly, Tunde had just arrived back from a family holiday in Nigeria and the first she knew of the attack was when she turned up at the scene and the police cordons were in place.”

Describing the children, he said: “Abigail was a lovely little girl with lots of friends, who liked music and computers.

“Steven was a bit of a rascal, but was a loving and helpful son who was mad on Thomas the Tank Engine.”

An Asda spokesman said: “We are offering counselling to colleagues in the store. Our thoughts and prayers are with family and friends at this difficult time.”

Police appealed for anybody who may have seen visitors to the house on Monday or on Tuesday morning to come forward. Anyone with information is asked to contact 0191-214-6555.

6:01am Thursday 16th November 2006