A 47-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of murdering his young son.
Chris Hawkins was today being questioned by detectives about the fatal stabbing of his four-year-old son, Ryan, yesterday lunchtime at a house on Royd Street in Slaithwaite.
His daughter, Donna, 14, was also stabbed several times and is today seriously ill in hospital.
Hawkins walked into the Silent Woman pub in the centre of the village as police were called to the scene of horror – and ordered a pint.
Hawkins, a crown green bowler at Slaithwaite Cricket and Bowling Club, was arrested later after much of Slaithwaite was sealed off by police.
A member of the dead boy’s family said: “We’re a close family and we’re devastated. We just can’t believe it.’’
Father quizzed as son, daughter stabbed
A BOY murdered at his Slaithwaite home was today named as four-year-old Ryan Hawkins.
And one of two men being held in connection with the horror is his father.
Chris Hawkins walked into a village pub for a pint minutes after the boy and his 14-year-old sister Donna were found with stab wounds at a house in Royd Street, Hill Top.
Hawkins, 47, was held by detectives shortly after the lunchtime horror in the Colne Valley village that was the setting for the TV drama Where The Heart Is.
Today he was being quizzed about the murder of Ryan – who died of stab wounds at Huddersfield Royal Infirmary – and the stabbing of Donna.
She is in the Infirmary with multiple injuries after having surgery. She is said to be stable.
Hawkins was arrested with another man, also 47, yesterday afternoon. He was believed to be a friend called Bob Burns, who also lives in Slaithwaite.
Both were seen drinking in The Silent Woman pub in Slaithwaite village centre early yesterday – less than half a mile from the children’s home in Royd Street.
Ryan and Donna’s 15-year-old sister, Nathalie, is believed to be on holiday with friends.
It is believed Mr Hawkins had recently split with his wife, Valerie.
Ironically, the couple had previously been living in The Silent Woman, a pub featured as one of the locations in the TV drama.
It is understood that Mrs Hawkins had recently got a new partner.
The children’s great-uncle George Fellows said the family were devastated by the attack.
He said: “We’re a close family and we’re devastated. We just can’t believe it.”
His daughter-in-law, Tracey Fellows, said: “It’s just senseless.”
Mr Fellows said the children’s mother was receiving counselling.
Det Supt Tim Forber, of West Yorkshire Police, said: “This has been a very serious incident which has seen the life of a four-year-old boy having been brought to a tragic end and left a 14-year-old girl in hospital with serious stab wounds.
“The incident is not being treated as a random attack.”
The house where the children were found and several others in Royd Street remained cordoned off today, with a number of police at the scene.
Police cordons also blocked off Bank Gate, which leads down from Hill Top to The Silent Woman, but people were being allowed in and out of their homes.
Silent Woman customer Jez Pierce, who saw Hawkins in the pub yesterday afternoon, said: “He was gutted that his wife moved on. He must have just flipped and unfortunately hurt his own children.’’
Mr Pierce, 39, told how he had seen Hawkins in the pub. He said: “Chris just walked in, ordered a pint and then went and sat with Bob Burns, who was the other man arrested.
“I went and sat with them. Chris looked awful, really pale and washed out and he and Bob were speaking in hushed tones.
“Chris had confessed to Bob, who later rang the police.
“After a while Chris said to Bob: ‘I think we should go for a wander’, so they supped up and went out.
“But Chris didn't know the police were already after him.
“I have known Chris since we were kids, we used to work together. My lad is the same age as his eldest child.
“It's an absolute shock, I just can't believe what has happened. It’s
usually a quiet place.
“Chris is a sound man, very sociable. I saw him last week and he was fine. We were in the pub having a laugh.”
Forensic officers spent much of yesterday afternoon and evening searching The Silent Woman pub as well as a funeral home opposite in hope of finding a weapon.
The family home in Royd Street was also the scene of frantic police and forensic expert activity all day and night.
Jessica Sykes, 11, of Linthwaite, was in the centre of Slaithwaite with her friend Alice.
She said: “ We were coming back from the barge where we had our lunch when we heard police sirens.
“We were shocked to see loads of police.
“We went to sit on a bench which was next to the canal in the middle of Slaithwaite.
“We were waiting for five minutes, until I turned around and the police were searching for a man.
“I think they found a knife in his sock.
“They put the man in the police van and then the police put tape around the road and asked all the people to keep out of the way.”