Chadwell Heath murders: Council colleagues will miss ‘popular’ Shighi Rethishkumar

Rethishkumar Pullarkattil and Shighi Rethishkumar

Rethishkumar Pullarkattil and Shighi Rethishkumar - Credit: Archant

Colleagues of Shighi Rethishkumar have said she will be missed after the mother and her teenage twin daughters were found dead at their home in Chadwell Heath.

The 37-year-old and 13-year-old twins Neha and Niya were discovered at the flat in Juniper Court, off Grove Road, on Tuesday.

Mrs Rethish’s husband Rethishkumar Pullarkattil, 44, was found hanged in Woodford Reservoir, Walthamstow, yesterday (Wednesday) morning.

Detectives at Scotland Yard launched a murder investigation into the deaths, and confirmed they were not looking for anyone else in connection.

This morning Havering Council said colleagues and friends of social worker Mrs Rethishkumar were very upset by the news.

In a statement, the council said: “Shighi was a well-loved and popular member of the team. She worked alongside colleagues from the local health service and Barking & Dagenham Council and everyone who knew her was devastated to hear this tragic news.

“Shighi worked with vulnerable people as they came out of hospital, ensuring they had the right support in place to help them settle back into their own homes, and live as independently as possible.

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“She’ll be missed not only by her colleagues here and at the hospital, but by the many people she has helped during her time here.”

Chief executive of Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals Trust (BHRUT), which runs King George, Matthew Hopkins also added his voice to the tributes.

He said: “We were shocked and saddened to hear of the death of our Havering Council colleague, who played an important role in helping our patients.

“She will be very much missed by our team at King George Hospital and we would like to send our sympathies to her family and friends at this time.”

Earlier, police said post-mortem examinations were due to start today (Thursday) at East Ham Mortuary.

“We will not speculate on cause of death, however the female bodies have no signs of visible injuries,” said a statement.

Yesterday, neighbours at the small block of flats where the family – originally from Kerala in India – lived said they were shocked by the news.

Mother-of-two Zoya Habibani, 24, said they were “quite a nice family” and said she had seen them around the building.

A spokesman for Chadwell Heath Academy, where twins Neha and Niya were in Year 8, said: “We are deeply saddened by this tragic event.

“Our thoughts and sympathies are with all who knew the family.

“We are doing all that is necessary to support both staff and pupils.”

Did you know the family? Contact the Recorder on 0208 477 3825 or email to pay tribute.