Mum kills herself and two little boys: Double death at Dartmoor beauty spot, then police find toddler's body at home
- Katherine Hooper, 24, and Joshua, five, fell 100ft from Haytor, Dartmoor
- They both died shortly after the fall from rocks at 11.50am on Friday
- Police searching her Paignton home found the body of a two-year-old boy
- The second boy is thought to be Miss Hooper's younger son Sam
Died: Police believe Katherine Hooper, 24, killed herself and her two young sons
A young mother killed herself and her five-year-old son by jumping 100ft off rocks at a beauty spot on Dartmoor yesterday.
Police believe Katherine Hooper, 24, also killed her younger son, aged two. The toddler’s body was found at her home 20 miles away.
Tourists said they saw Mrs Hooper put Joshua, five, on her shoulders before jumping off Haytor in Devon, a spot popular with ramblers.
Police opened a murder inquiry, but said they were not looking for anyone else in connection with the deaths.
Friends claimed Mrs Hooper had serious problems in her relationship, which were known to authorities.
She had gone missing a few weeks ago, prompting Devon and Cornwall police to launch a public appeal.
Last night serious concerns were raised about why officers and social services had not acted sooner to protect the children.
Mrs Hooper was last seen alive yesterday morning. She was walking with Joshua by a cliff at Haytor, which is almost 1,500ft above sea level and one of Dartmoor National Park’s most famous landmarks.
Shortly afterwards, horrified onlookers saw the pair lifeless on the ground below, after what they believed was a tragic accident.
Police, paramedics and search teams rushed to the scene and air ambulances were dispatched to airlift the pair to hospital, but both died shortly after the fall.
Later, officers travelled to Mrs Hooper’s home in Paignton, Devon, and found the body of a two-year-old boy, also thought to be her son.
It is unclear how he died but a murder investigation has been launched into the deaths.
Killed: Joshua, five, (left) died after falling 100ft from the Dartmoor beauty spot, while a body thought to be that of Sam, two, (right) was found at Miss Hooper's home in Paignton
Dartmoor: Police stood guard near the spot where the pair tragically plunged to their deaths
Fall: The mother and son fell from Haytor, a 1,500-ft granite outcrop, at around 11.50am, and died shortly afterwards
Detective Superintendent Paul Burgan, of Devon and Cornwall Police, said: ‘We are keeping an open mind about all three deaths, but at this stage we are not looking for anyone else in connection with the incident.
‘We are keen to speak to anyone who may have any information or might have been in the Haytor area on Friday.’
He said that the family’s next of kin had been informed, and post-mortem examinations will now be carried out on all three.
Neighbours said Mrs Hooper was a ‘nice woman’ who had serious relationship problems with a partner. Police are said to have been aware of allegations she had made against the man.
999 call: Emergency services rushed to Haytor on Dartmoor, but could not save Miss Hooper and Joshua
Tragedy: The body of a two-year-old body was found at Katherine Hooper's home in Paignton hours after she and her son Joshua died at Haytor, Dartmoor
The tragedy unfolded at 11.50am on Haytor as temperatures rose to close to 30C at the tourist spot.
Haytor, a steep granite tor, is considered Dartmoor’s most famous site and is popular with coach parties, walkers and sightseers.
During the 19th century steps were cut into one side of the tor and a metal handrail fixed to allow tourists easier access to the summit.
At its highest point it reaches 1,499ft (457 metres) above sea level, providing panoramic views of the south coast, the Teign Estuary and the rolling countryside.
Mike Nendick, from the Dartmoor National Park Authority, said there had been accidents at Haytor before but they were ‘not commonplace’.
‘When you have an attractive landscape, whether it’s on the coast or moors, it attracts people. There’s always the potential for accidents,’ he added.
‘It wouldn’t be appropriate to comment on the accident. But we would urge members of the public to wear sensible footwear and consider weather conditions.’