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Robert MOCHRIE

 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 
 
 
Classification: Mass murderer
Characteristics: Parricide
Number of victims: 5
Date of murders: July 2000
Date of birth: 1950
Victims profile: His wife Catherine, 45, and their children - Bethan, 10, Luke, 14, Sian, 16, and 18-year-old James
Method of murder: Bludgeoned to death
Location: Barry, South Wales, United Kingdom
Status: Committed suicide by hanging himself the same day
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Motive unclear for family deaths

BBC News

July 24, 2000

A major investigation is underway after a mother and her four children were bludgeoned to death in their home and the father was found hanged.

The bodies of Robert Mochrie, a 49-year-old hotelier, his wife Catherine, 45, and their children - Bethan, 10, Luke, 14, Sian, 16, and 18-year-old James, were found by South Wales Police who forced their way in to the family's home in Barry, near Cardiff.

It has emerged that Mrs Mochrie was a sister of Wales and British Lions rugby star Terry Holmes. He is said to be "shattered" by the news.

The family - who had been described by neighbours as "devoted" - were discovered on Sunday evening after the family had not been seen for 11 days.

Officers were called to the home in Rutland Close at 2030BST on Sunday after friends and relatives raised the alarm.

They gained entry into the house through an upstairs window.

Five of the people inside the house had been subjected to a violent attack and, it appeared that the father had commited suicide.

Detective Superintendent Kevin O'Neill, who is leading the investigation, described the scene they were met with as "horrific".

"It was by all accounts a dreadful scene and we are offering counselling to officers."

Mr O'Neill said the bodies were found in a number of different places in the house and that a blunt instrument had been used to inflict some of the injuries.

Police say they are not looking for anyone else in connection with the killings.

Scenes of crime officers and forensic teams have been carrying out a pain-staking search of the house and detectives have set up an incident room at nearby Barry Police Station.

The three eldest children were pupils at the St Richard Gwyn Roman Catholic School in the town.

Bethan, who was physically disabled, was a pupil at a special school.

Mike Clinch, headteacher at the 511-pupil Roman Catholic school, said: "The family were very active and supportive of the school. Both parents always came together to parents evenings and Mrs Mochrie was secretary of our PTA.

"Robert was softly spoken but always asked the questions you would expect from a caring parent.

"They were a very strong Catholic family. There was never any hint of anything sinister behind the scenes.

"The children were genuinely nice kids from a very normal, caring family."

Neighbour Maggie Richards, 45. said: "We hadn't seen them around but we thought they had gone away on holiday.

"They were fine and didn't appear to have any problems," she said.

 
 

Search for family massacre clues

BBC News

July 25, 2000

Detectives are investigating the financial affairs of the man they believe may have battered to death his family before killing himself.

Robert Mochrie, a one-time civil servant, used to own the now closed Barry Hotel, which he had turned in to a successful nightclub.

The father-of-four sold it to buy the Pembroke House Hotel in Haverfordwest, west Wales, but it closed last January after a fire.

Mr Mochrie had tried to sell it through auction just two months ago but it failed to reach its reserve price.

It is understood there was no suggestion that the couple had any marital problems. They appeared to be an extremely happy family and no clear motive for the killings has emerged.

Officers were called to their five-bedroom detached home in Barry, near Cardiff, on Sunday after friends and relatives - concerned that they had seen nothing of them for 11 days - raised the alarm.

Inside they found the bodies of 49-year-old Mr Mochrie, his wife Catherine, 45, and their children - Bethan, 10, Luke, 14, Sian, 16, and 18-year-old James.

Mrs Mochrie and her children had been subjected to a violent attack and, it appeared that the father had committed suicide. His body was found hanging by a rope on the landing.

Detective Superintendent Kevin O'Neill, who is leading the investigation, said: "It was by all accounts a dreadful scene and we are offering counselling to officers."

The three eldest children were pupils at the St Richard Gwyn Roman Catholic School in the town.

Bethan, who was physically disabled, was a pupil at a special school.

Mike Clinch, headteacher at St Richard Gwyn said the Mochrie family were "very active and supportive" of the school. Mrs Mochrie - sister of Wales International and British Lions rugby star Terry Holmes - was secretary of the school's PTA.

Former business partner Roger Cruttenden said Robert Mochrie "absolutely worshipped" his four children.

He said one of the reasons he gave up his 25-year career as a Welsh Office civil servant was to spend more time with his two youngest children Luke and Bethan.

Bethan was born physically disabled and went to a special school to help with her walking difficulties and speech problems.

Luke had a brain tumour operation when he was eight years old but after undergoing surgery he was recovering well.

"Rob Mochrie was the last person on earth you would expect to do anything like this," he added.

Jan Casault, who became friendly with Mrs Mochrie as they studied as mature students for degrees at Cardiff University, said the parents "doted" on her children.

"No-one can understand what has gone on there, they seemed like a perfectly normal family," she said.

"I met her husband quite a few times. He seemed perfectly pleasant but a bit on the quiet side."

Meanwhile, as forensic teams continue to examine the scene, the whereabouts of the family car, their pet dog and cat are trying to be established.

 
 

Counselling after family massacre

July 27, 2000

A school attended by three of the four children killed in a family massacre is opening its doors to offer counselling to the community.

More than 450 people gathered for a service on Wednesday evening in memory of the six members of the Mochrie family found dead at their south Wales home on Sunday.

Hundreds of schoolfriends hugged one another during the tearful service at St Helen's Roman Catholic Church, Barry.

The service was organised by the St Richard Gwyn High School where counselling and prayer meetings have been arranged.

South Wales Police were called to the family's detached home on Sunday evening after friends and relative raised the alarm.

Inside they found the bodies of 49-year-old Mr Mochrie, his wife Catherine, 45, and their children - Bethan, 10, Luke, 14, Sian, 16, and 18-year-old James.

Mrs Mochrie and her children had been violently attack and, it appeared that the father had committed suicide. His body was found hanging by a rope on the landing.

Father Patrick O'Gorman said that "death in cruel and tragic way had visited our community.

"We are trying to come to terms with enormity of the tragedy that lies on our doorstep.

"Sometimes life confronts us with things we cannot explain. Tonight we stand before the inexplicable; tender, raw and to some degree broken, unable to adequately put into words what we would like to express," he said.

St Richard Gwyn High School is also opening its doors on Thursday, offering counselling for members of the local community.

Headteacher Mike Clinch said he did not know how many people would be there but said the school wanted to provide help for anyone who needed it.

Detectives say they may never know what lead to the deaths of Cathy Mochrie and her four children - who were battered to death.

Her husband Robert Mochrie apparently committed suicide.

No clear motive

The detective in charge of the investigation into the deaths of a family of six said it was "probable" they would never know what happened.

Detective Superintendent Kevin O'Neill said on Tuesday no clear motive had emerged to explain the deaths.

Police are examining the family's financial background, their relationships and the couple's marriage to look for clues.

Mr Mochrie, a one-time civil servant, used to own the now closed Barry Hotel, which he had turned in to a successful nightclub.

He sold it to buy the Pembroke House Hotel in Haverfordwest, west Wales, but it closed last January after a fire.

Mr Mochrie had tried to sell it through auction just two months ago but it failed to reach its reserve price.

At a news conference in Barry a police officer read out a statement from Mrs Mochrie's younger brother, former Wales and British Lions international rugby player Terry Holmes.

He said: "Our family have been completely devastated by the loss of my sister and her family. I simply do not know how to begin putting into words how we are feeling.

"We are supporting each other as best we can through this terrible time and as you can understand we obviously need time to grieve."

Former business partner Roger Cruttenden said Robert Mochrie "absolutely worshipped" his four children.

He said one of the reasons he gave up his 25-year career as a Welsh Office civil servant was to spend more time with his two youngest children Luke and Bethan.

Bethan was born physically disabled and went to a special school to help with her walking difficulties and speech problems.

Luke had a brain tumour operation when he was eight years old but after undergoing surgery he was recovering well.

 
 

Burial for massacred family

August 4, 2000

Former Welsh rugby international Terry Holmes paid an emotional farewell to his family who were found beaten to death at their south Wales home.

More than 400 friends, family and neighbours were at the funeral of Catherine Mochrie and her four children at St Helen's Church in Barry.

All five were murdered by father Robert Mochrie, who then hanged himself in their five-bedroom detached home.

Mrs Mochrie, 45, was the elder sister of former British Lions and Wales star Holmes, 43, who led the mourners.

Their family had decided that Mrs Mochrie and her children would be buried together.

But Mr Mochrie will be cremated on his own in a separate location.

Holmes led the mourners in the crowded church service during farewells to the family.

Police are still investigating the mystery of what turned "devoted and caring" father Mochrie, 49, into a killer.

He battered his wife and four children - James, 18, Sian, 16, Luke, 14 and Bethan, 10 - in their beds before hanging himself.

Mrs Mochrie's best friend Debbie Zeraschi told the congregation: "There doesn't seem to be any words to explain the beauty of Cath.

"She was a peace-maker who hated arguing.

"She had very strong principles and always fought for the right cause."

Parish priest Father Patrick O'Gorman described the events that took place as "sheer madness" and referred to the speculation as to what had happened.

"Without minimising the magnitude of the event it is recognised that for over 20 years Robert Mochrie was a loving husband and for over 18 years a caring father," he said.

The family were regular church-goers and 11 priests were at the service.

The five coffins were carried from the church by family and friends to a cemetery.

Police investigating the six deaths were among the mourners.

The last sightings of the family was on 19 July, four days before the bodies were discovered.

Police found the massacre after forcing their way into the house following concerns from neighbours and family friends.

Det Chief Insp Graham Anthony said: "Our investigations into the deaths are still continuing and we are still exploring various avenues."

Police are continuing to look into Mr Mochrie's financial affairs.

He bought a 20-bedroom hotel in Pembrokeshire but it was hit with a fire last year and he had been trying to sell it.

 
 

Inquest into family murder mystery

March 26, 2001

A two-day inquest has been called by a coroner investigating the baffling deaths of a family of six whose bodies were found in their south Wales home.

A major police investigation was launched in July when Catherine Mochrie, 45, and her four children - Bethan, 10, Luke, 14, Sian, 16, and 18-year-old James - were found to have been bludgeoned to death.

Mr Mochrie later sold the Barry Hotel

Husband and father 49-year-old Robert Mochrie was found hanged nearby.

It is believed that Mr Mochrie - who had been described as a "devoted family man" - battered his wife and children to death his family before taking his own life.

Their bodies were found by South Wales Police officers who forced their way in to the family's detached home in a quiet suburb of Barry, near Cardiff.

The family were discovered after worried relatives contacted the police. They had not been seen for 11 days.

Witness statements

On Monday, Cardiff and Vale Coroner Dr Laurence Addicottt announced that he had set aside two days in April for the inquest to decide on the exact cause of death.

It is expected that up to 10 witnesses will give evidence at the hearing in Cardiff including police officers who investigated the deaths.

Family members - including Mrs Mochrie's brother former British Lion and Welsh rugby international Terry Holmes - are expected to give evidence in the form of written statements.

Dr Addicott will also hear pathology reports for all six members of the family.

Detective Superintendent Kevin O'Neill, who is in charge of the investigation into the deaths, said it was "probable" they would never know what happened.

He had been investigating the financial affairs of Robert Mochrie, who was a former civil servant turned businessman.

Some years ago, he bought the nearby Barry Hotel, which he had turned in to a successful nightclub.

He then sold it to buy the Pembroke House Hotel in Haverfordwest, west Wales, but it closed last January after a fire.

Mr Mochrie had tried to sell it through auction just two months ago but it failed to reach its reserve price.

Meanwhile, Mrs Mochrie had returned to full time education and had graduated as a mature student at Cardiff University.

Hundreds of mourners attended the burial service of Mrs Mochrie and her children who were buried together.

Robert Mochrie was later cremated in a separate service.

 
 

Family massacre inquest told of affair

BBC News

Wednesday, 25 April, 2001

The inquest into the deaths of an entire family battered to death in their south Wales home has heard that the mother had conducted a clandestine affair.

The body of Catherine Mochrie was found with those of her four children. All five had been battered to death at their suburban home in Barry, near Cardiff, last July.

South Wales Police suspect her husband and the father of her children, Robert Mochrie - who was found hanged at the house - murdered them before taking his own life.

A former business associate of Mr Mochrie, David Osbourne, told Cardiff Coroner's Court on Tuesday that he had had a sexual relationship with Mrs Mochrie.

But, he said, the affair had ended last February - five months before the family was killed.

"He (Robert Mochrie) never indicated that he knew about the relationship," he added.

Ill-fated business

Mr Osbourne, also of Barry, had been manager of one of Mr Mochrie's ill-fated business ventures at the Pembroke House Hotel in Haverfordwest, west Wales.

Just months after he failed to sell the hotel through an auction, the building was damaged by a kitchen fire in January 1999.

Mr Mochrie - who has been described as a "devoted family man" - was awaiting an insurance pay-out.

South Wales Police launched an investigation in July last year when officers discovered the bodies of 45-year-old Catherine Mochrie, and children Bethan, 10, Luke, 14, Sian, 16, and 18-year-old James, at their home in Barry.

The inquest also heard evidence from a "close male friend" of Mrs Mochrie who received a mobile phone text message on the day she is believed to have been killed.

The message said: "I have been trying to get hold of you during the day. Battery dead, will phone later."

Paul Wyatt, who arranged to meet Mrs Mochrie for "coffee and squash games" after they met in a pub, said he thought at the time it was strange she had sent a message rather than call.

Letter from bank

"She was a very devoted mother and family woman. On one occasion she mentioned that she and her husband had had a tiff over a letter from the bank," he said.

"But she never mentioned they had any financial problems."

Mr Wyatt said the last time he saw Mrs Mochrie was two days before she is believed to have been killed.

"We met for an hour and she seemed quite happy and jovial," he told the hearing.

"She was looking forward to doing things with the children in the school holidays."

Earlier, another close friend of Mrs Mochrie told how she first discovered the bodies.

Debbie Zeraschi said they had arranged to meet at a parent teachers' association some days before - but she received a text message from Mrs Mochrie which said she was unable to attend because her mother was ill.

When she tried to get hold of her later there was no reply at home and she assumed they were visiting Mrs Mochrie's mother in hospital.

But after some days, Mrs Zeraschi went around to the family's 250,000 house in a quiet close, and noticed that post which had arrived was building up.

She then used a ladder to climb up to an upstairs window where one of the children could be seen lying dead in bed.

Police were called and the other family members were discovered.

Coroner Dr Laurence Addicott has set aside two days for the inquest to examine the circumstances surrounding the deaths.

It is expected that up to10 witnesses will give evidence at the hearing including police officers who investigated the deaths.

Family members - including Mrs Mochrie's brother, former Welsh rugby international and British Lion, Terry Holmes - are expected to give evidence in the form of written statements.

Details of Mr Mochrie's finanacial affairs are also expected to be put to the second day of the hearing on Thursday.

 
 

Suicide father massacred family

April 26, 2001

A father with suicidal tendencies battered to death his wife and four children before hanging himself, and inquest has been told.

Cardiff and Vale Dr Lawrence Addicott recorded a verdict that 45-year-old businessman Robert Mochrie unlawfully killed his family at their home in Barry, near Cardiff, last summer.

A consultant psychiatrist told the hearing that Mr Mochrie had suicidal and severe depressive tendencies for up to 10 years, faced financial problems and had been visiting a prostitute.

On Wednesday, the court heard that Mrs Mochrie - sister of former Welsh rugby international and British Lion Terry Holmes - had had an affair with her husband's former business partner.

The bodies were discovered 12 days later

South Wales Police launched an investigation in July last year when officers discovered the bodies of 45-year-old Catherine Mochrie, and children Bethan, 10, Luke, 14, Sian, 16, and 18-year-old James, at their 250,000 home.

The discovery shocked the seaside town community who regarded Mr Mochrie as a "devoted family man".

Extra-marital affair

But Dr Brian Harris said that it was his opinion that he was "deluded" at the time and felt "the only way out" would be through the deaths of his family.

While Mr Mochrie - who underwent treatment in 1990 and 1993 - may have given the impression that all was well, Dr Harris added that his mental state could have deteriorated quickly.

Mrs Mochrie - who had graduated at the University of Wales as a mature student - was a full-time mother. On the surface, there appeared to be few cracks in their marriage.

In reality, the couple's mortgage was in arrears and they owed more than 200,000.

Pembroke House Hotel closed after a fire

On Wednesday, the inquest heard that the 45-year-old had been conducting an extra-marital affair with a business associate of her husband David Osbourne.

"He (Robert Mochrie) never indicated that he knew about the relationship," he said, adding that the affair had finished five months before the deaths.

Mr Osbourne, also of Barry, had been manager of one of Mr Mochrie's ill-fated business ventures at the Pembroke House Hotel in Haverfordwest, west Wales.

Just months after he failed to sell the hotel through an auction, the building was damaged by a kitchen fire in January 1999.

Mr Mochrie was awaiting an insurance pay-out.

But it also emerged that Mrs Mochrie had struck up a friendship Paul Wyatt after the two met in a pub.

He told the coroner that they had played squash together and met for coffee.

The inquest was told that she no longer had a physical relationship with her husband who had been visiting a prostitute once a week for 18 months.

The Mochries lived in a quiet suburb

Detective Inspector Paul Bethell said in the aftermath of the deaths, it had emerged that he had been visiting Charmaine Jacobs.

"As with lots of her clients he said there were problems within his marriage and he did not have sex with his wife any more," Mr Bethell added.

The bodies were eventually discovered 12 days after when a friend of Mrs Mochrie's became suspicious.

Noticing that post was building up inside the house, Debbie Zeraschi used a ladder to climb up to an upstairs window where one of the children could be seen lying dead in bed.

Recording a verdict of unlawful killing on Catherine Mochrie and her four children, Cardiff and Vale coroner, Dr Lawrence Addicott said he believed husband Robert Mochrie had killed himself.

 

 

 
 
 
 
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