Chadwell Heath murders: Community leader says family were ‘happy all the time’
- Credit: Archant
The president of a community group has vowed to raise money to help send the bodies of a family found dead this week to India.
President of the East London Malayalee Association (ELMA) Babu Thomas, who knew the family, was so “shocked” by the news that he went to the family’s home in Chadwell Heath to be confronted by police guarding the family’s flat.
Havering Council social worker Shighi Rethishkumar, 37, and twin daughters Neha and Niya, 13, were found at their home in Juniper Court, off Grove Road, on Tuesday.
Shighi’s husband Rethishkumar Pullarkattil, 44, was found hanged in Woodford Reservoir, Walthamstow, yesterday morning.
Police have launched a murder investigation into the deaths and confirmed that they were not looking for anyone else in connection.
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Babu, who heads the group for the Malayalee community – those who hail from Kerala, India – said that the family were “happy all the time”.
He said: “We have gatherings during the year for Christmas and Onam [a Malayalee harvest festival] and the children used to dance at our events.
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“They were very nice children – it’s very sad – I’m so shocked because the family were happy all the time – I hadn’t seen any problems between them.”
He added: “They were all friendly and very nice and they were very active within the community.”
Babu is now trying to raise money in order to help send the bodies to Kerala, where it is believed the family’s next of kin are.
The group’s former president 39-year-old Rony Jacob, from Dagenham, also knew the family.
He said: “Everyone knows them – they were good people.
“From what I know, they were always laughing and smiling so it was quite shocking to hear.
“I was shivering, I couldn’t speak when I heard – it’s quite shocking to the whole community.”
Police confirmed that post-mortem examinations were due to start today at East Ham Mortuary.
A police statement said: “We will not speculate on cause of death, however the female bodies have no signs of visible injuries.”
Did you know the family? Call Ajay on 020 8477 3835 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to pay tribute.