Scotland Yard is investigating the death of a Kerala-origin couple and their two teenaged twin daughters after the bodies of the wife and daughters were found in their house, while the husband was found hanging on Wednesday near a reservoir in east London.
As per standard practice, the police did not disclose the names, but the family has been named in local media reports as Pullarkattil Rethishkumar, 44, Shigi Rethishkumar, 37, and daughters Neha and Niya, 13.
The family is reported to have moved to the Chadwell Heath area in east London nearly eight years ago. The motives remained unclear but the police are investigating whether the wife and daughters were killed by the husband, who later hanged himself.
Detective superintendent Kenny McDonald said: “At this stage we are awaiting the outcome of the post-mortems to confirm cause of death, which will provide further evidence of what has taken place inside the house at Grove Road”.
"However, at this stage in our ongoing investigation we are not looking for anyone else in connection with the deaths. We are making extensive enquiries to trace next of kin, who we believe to be outside of the UK."
The police said the last confirmed sighting of the family was on 10 May. Neighbours described the family as ‘lovely, sweet’.
The wife was said to be a social worker for Havering council, while her husband worked for the Redbridge leisure services. They married in 2001 and the twins went to Chadwell Heath Academy.
The family was said to be active members of the local East London Malayalee Association.
Shocked relatives of Shigi in India said they had no idea how this happened. Initially they were told that Shigi and their 13-year-old twin daughters’ (Neha and Niya) bodies were found hanging in their apartment and the husband was missing.
Hailing from a middle-class family in Thrissur (70kms south of Kochi), the family had visited their native place a year ago. Relatives were told that the police had sealed their apartment and their bodies would be handed over after post-mortem.
Shigi, who has a master’s degree in social work, was working in a hospital and her twin daughters were in eighth standard. Shigi had migrated to the UK about nine years ago and had taken her husband and daughters once she settled in her job. Later, her husband also managed a job in a private firm.
“A happy family we never heard about any discontentment or tiff. Financially, they were sound. They were also active in social circles there. It is hard to believe it happened to them,” said a relative.
(With inputs from Ramesh Babu in Thiruvananthapuram)