Juan Ignacio Blanco  


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Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Parricide - "To take revenge for affair"
Number of victims: 2
Date of murders: November 5, 2006
Date of arrest: Same day (surrenders)
Date of birth: 1971
Victims profile: His daughter Caitlin, 5, and his son, Aiden, 3
Method of murder: Suffocation
Location: Bodelwyddan, Denbighshire, Wales, United Kingdom
Status: Sentenced to life in prison (minimum 35 years) on March 8, 2007

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Father admits child bath murders

BBC News

Friday, 9 March 2007

A father has been sentenced to life and ordered to serve a minimum of 35 years after admitting murdering his two young children in their bath.

Perry Samuel, 35, who has manic depression, smothered Aidan, three, and Caitlin, five, at their home in Bodelwyddan, Denbighshire.

Judge John Rogers said he believed Samuel had been motivated by malice against the children's mother.

But Samuel is said to be the only one who knows exactly what happened.

A review of the way council and health authorities dealt with Samuel has begun and is expected to report back later in the year.

Sentencing Samuel at Mold Crown Court, Judge John Rogers said: "You took them one after the other and put your hand over the mouth and the nose, disregarding their desperate struggle to get air into their lungs. You left your hands there until life itself had left their bodies."

"You abused the most important position of trust, that of a father for his children.

"I accept you have a mental history which may provide some explanation for your actions although I believe your motivation was simply malice towards these children's mother."

The court heard about the relationship between the children's mother Sarah Graham and Samuel, and were told that at one point they had split up, with Samuel becoming depressed about that.

But at the time of the murders, they had reunited - although Samuel had looked at text messages on Ms Graham's mobile phone and might have suspected she was seeing a male friend.

Defence counsel Stephen Riordan QC said that the truth of what happened "remains in his (Samuel's) head"

Samuel had told police the children had been having a bath and he remembered smoking a cigarette on the doorstep, hearing playful splashing upstairs.

Mr Riordan said he told police that then "everything went wacko."

"He can remember kneeling alongside the bath and falling against the wall. His jumper was wet and he took it off. The children were in the water," the barrister added.

Mr Riordan explained that Samuel was too scared to call police straight away. Post mortem examinations suggested the time of death at some time between 2000 GMT and 2130 GMT.

He made a rambling call to the police shortly before 11pm that night.

The children's mother had been at a pop concert in Manchester with friends and had left her partner to care for the children.

In a statement issued after sentencing, Ms Graham said no prison sentence would be long enough to excuse taking away the lives of her "beautiful babies" or to justify the "living nightmare that this man has put me and my family through".

She told the court she wished she could go to sleep and not wake.

Ms Graham said she suffered regular nightmares and her pain would never go.

"Even though we didn't have the perfect relationship, I thought that he loved me and the children and I never ever thought that he would kill his own children," she said.

"My biggest fear throughout this whole nightmare is that the children suffered.

"The police have told me as much as they know, but the only person who can say exactly what happened in my home on the evening of Bonfire Night last year is Perry."


Father who killed his children 'to avenge his lover'

By Liz Hull -

March 9, 2007

A Father suffocated his two young children as revenge on their mother who he feared was cheating on him, a court has heard.

Perry Samuel, 35, held his hands over the mouths and noses of his five-year-old daughter Caitlin and her brother, Aiden, three, until they lost consciousness and died.

In a vain attempt to make their murders look like an accident, Samuel then dumped their naked bodies in the bath and rang 999, telling police: "There's a problem with the children."

Shortly afterwards, officers arrested Samuel at the terrace home he shared with the children's mother, 23-year-old Sarah Graham, who was away at a pop concert at the time.

He was questioned for three days but repeatedly refused to explain why he had murdered the children.

However, it emerged yesterday that in the days before their deaths, Samuel, who suffered from manic depression, had feared his partner of seven years was having an affair. He admitted checking Miss Graham's mobile phone and finding a text message from another man, arranging to meet her at the concert, 70 miles away in Manchester, on the night of the killings.

Yesterday, Judge John Rogers, QC, jailed Samuel for life after he pleaded guilty to two counts of murder. The judge recommended he serve at least 35 years, meaning he would not be eligible for parole until he was 70.

"You suffocated them one after the other by placing your hand over their mouths and noses, disregarding the desperate strugglings each of them must have gone through in an attempt to take air into their lungs," Judge Rogers said.

"You held your hands there until life itself left their bodies. They were quite defenceless and you abused the most important position of trust, that of a father for his children.

"Your motivation was simply malice, malice towards the children's mother." Mold Crown Court in

North Wales heard that, on the night of the murders, Bonfire Night last year, Miss Graham had left the youngsters in the care of Samuel while she went with friends to watch the pop star Pink in concert.

Gerrard Elias, QC, prosecuting, said the day had been like any other, with Samuel taking Caitlin and Aiden to a fast-food restaurant for their dinner, before watching a neighbour's firework display and running them a bath.

But shortly after 11pm police received an emergency call from Samuel. When officers attended the couple's three-bedroom terrace, in the close-knit village of Bodelwyddan, North Wales, they "made the grimmest of discoveries".

Samuel, described by friends and family as a "model father", was arrested but failed to explain how the children died.

However, post-mortem examinations revealed they had been suffocated by his hand, some time between 8pm and 9.30pm, and

their bodies placed in the bath shortly afterwards.

The court heard that Samuel had been hospitalised with depression after trying to commit suicide when he and Miss Graham temporarily separated in February last year. During their separation Miss Graham began seeing another man, but was reunited with Samuel five months later, in July. Samuel told police he was concerned that Miss Graham had been spending more time socialising with friends and going out to nightclubs, while he remained at home with the children.

He said Miss Graham had complained that she was "sick of living with a dithering old man".

In the days before the murders Samuel also checked Miss Graham's mobile phone and, although he later denied killing the children as an act of revenge, he admitted finding a text message from another man arranging to meet her at the concert.

Mr Elias added: "Sarah Graham admitted the defendant had seen a text message which was from another man and following that his attitude towards her became more aggressive. The Crown suggests that the motive for the attack must have been this."

In a statement, Miss Graham said: "I feel so much pain and can't see a future. I wish I could go to sleep and not wake. Perry had destroyed my life.

"No prison sentence will ever be long enough to excuse taking away the lives of my beautiful babies."

The court heard that Samuel, who has one previous conviction for burglary, had been treated for manic depression since he was 27.

Although he had seen a psychiatrist only a month before the murders, experts concluded that he was of sound mind and not suffering a depressive episode when he killed his children.


Normal day which ended in murder

BBC News

Friday, 9 March 2007

Only Perry Samuel knows exactly what happened on Bonfire Night 2006 when he murdered his young son and daughter.

It had been at the end of an otherwise unremarkable family day.

The apparently dutiful father was looking after his children while their mother went to a concert in Manchester and stayed over with friends.

After taking Caitlin, five, and Aidan, three, to McDonald's for tea, he brought them home, watched fireworks with them and gave his children a bath.

But he later rang the police, saying: "There's a problem with the children."

The problem was, he had suffocated them.

The unemployed shop assistant has admitted responsibility for their deaths, but despite being questioned for days by police, continues to refuse to say how, why, or even exactly when he killed them.

"On the face it, it had been a normal day," the police said later.

The police have called on Samuel to "do the right thing" and explain what happened that night, so the childrens' mother, Sarah, 23, is no longer tormented by endlessly imagining, and re-imagining, what might have happened.

The couple were said to have had difficulties in their relationship, and had been separated, but at the time he turned to murder, Samuel and Sarah Graham were again living together in Bodelwyddan, Denbighshire.

The first the children's mother knew about her partner's dreadful actions was when she took a phone call at her hotel from the police, who then collected her to reveal the full horror of what her partner had done.

"This has been a harrowing case that has touched the hearts of all those involved in it," senior investigating officer Det Supt John Chapman was to tell journalists some months later.

Samuel had a history of mental illness. He had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, or manic depression as it is also known.

Mold Crown Court heard he had been receiving different forms of mental health care since March 1998, when he was admitted to a psychiatric ward for a month.

The court was told he had been sectioned in January 1999 and arrested in November 2000 for an incident in which he admitted burglary. A charge of arson was ordered to lie on file.

In June 2004, he suffered a further manic episode and in, March 2006, was said to be in low mood during his separation from Ms Graham.

But contrary to some reports, he had not been in hospital immediately before the killings.

He has not used his mental health as an excuse for what he did - he pleaded guilty to murder, not manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

His defence barrister Stephen Riordan QC said: "It's perfectly clear that this is a man who since 1998 has been in and out of psychiatric hospitals.

"He has been diagnosed with bi-polar disorder, which is a serious mental illness treated by prescription drugs and which is more generally known as manic depression."


He told the court a psychiatric nurse who dealt with Samuel while he was on remand in Liverpool said the defendant told him he drowned Aidan in the bath and when his sister became distressed he did the same to her.

Mr Riordan said experts believed that when Samuel underwent his next episode of manic depression, he was likely to "unburden himself but not before then".

A "serious case review" involving all the authorities and agencies involved in the case, and with the family over recent times, has begun, with the result expected later in 2007.

But whatever the findings, the fact remains that only Samuel holds all the answers to what happened the evening he took it upon himself to end the short lives of his two children.

The killings had an impact not just on the children's mother and grandparents, but also stunned their home town.

The town's mayor, Doreen Jones, said: "They were children you always felt you wanted to give a hug to, because they were so loveable. And I know they were loved by all the family."


Father arrested over child deaths

BBC News

Monday, 6 November 2006

Police have confirmed a 35-year-old man arrested on suspicion of the murder of two children in Denbighshire is their father.

The man has been named locally as Perry Samuel.

Caitlin Samuel, five, and her brother, Aidan Samuel, three, were found at a house in Bodelwyddan near Rhyl just before 2300 GMT on Sunday.

In a statement, the children's family said: "We cannot express just how much we loved our two little angels."

The brother and sister were found at a house in Coronation Close by two female police officers after a 999 call was made. Mr Samuel was alone in the house when they called.

The children were taken to Ysbyty Glan Clwyd where they were pronounced dead less than an hour later. It is not yet known how they died.

Detective Chief Inspector Dave Jolly said : "We are keeping a completely open mind about the cause of the deaths and we are pursuing a number of lines of inquiry.

"It would be completely wrong to speculate about the cause of death at this moment."

He described the children's family as "extremely traumatised".

A statement issued from the family read: "Following last night's tragic and incomprehensible incident, we are appealing directly to the media that they respect our wishes and that we are allowed the breathing space we so desperately need to come to terms with this terrible life-changing situation in private so we can mourn in peace and with dignity."

'Tragic loss'

The house has been cordoned off by police tape. Flowers and soft toys, including a Winnie the Pooh bear, had been left by well-wishers.

Both children were pupils at Ysgol y Faenol school in Bodelwyddan.

Head teacher Martin Edwards said: "Our whole school community has been deeply shocked and saddened at this tragic loss.

"The two children were bright, popular and happy pupils and will be very sadly missed by their classmates and the staff at the school. Our thoughts and condolences are with the family at this time."

Neighbour John Bairstow, said there were a lot of children in the street who tended to play together.

"This is a family-oriented area. You have second generation people on this street, who grew up here and now have families of their own.

"It is terribly sad news, particularly as I'm sure this little boy and girl will have been well-known to the children and other families on this street."



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