Killer mother 'had enough of life'
A pregnant mother who suffocated her two youngest children before killing herself left notes indicating she had "had enough of life", an inquest has heard.
Melanie Stevens, 36, used a pillow to suffocate Izaak, two, and five-year-old Philip in their beds, a coroner was told.
Divorced Mrs Stevens, who was about 26 weeks pregnant with a boy, was found hanging from the door of the boys' bedroom at their home in Trawsfynydd, Gwynedd, North Wales, on December 19 last year.
At the inquest into all three deaths, held in Caernarfon, North West Wales coroner Dewi Pritchard Jones was told two police officers found the bodies after forcing entry to the property when concerns were raised by relatives that the mother and children were missing. Mrs Stevens's other children were safe at the home of a relative.
Giving evidence, Pc Adrian Wyn Owen said concerns were raised that the house appeared locked from the inside and Mrs Stevens's car was parked outside but relatives were unable to make contact.
After initially visiting the house that Sunday afternoon, he returned again at 8pm with Pc Raymond Williams and they took the decision to force entry by kicking down a door. Inside they found the downstairs of the property was tidy and decked out in Christmas decorations and with presents laid out under the tree.
Pc Williams then headed upstairs where he saw Mrs Stevens hanging from a doorway and, in the bedroom beyond, the boys were lying in their beds with the duvets pulled up to their shoulders. On one of the beds was a large kitchen knife, Pc Williams said, and nearby were two handwritten notes. The pathologist said Philip and Izaak's injuries were consistent with being suffocated with the use of a pillow.
The coroner said it was not his practice to disclose the contents of suicide notes but confirmed he had read them. "They are clearly (notes) where she is saying goodbye to somebody and she is saying that she has had enough of life," Mr Pritchard Jones said.
The coroner recorded verdicts of unlawful killing for the boys and said their mother killed herself.
Speaking after the hearing, Mrs Stevens's ex-partner and Izaak's father, Nick Smith, from Llanllyfni, was devastated. He said: "Izaak and Pip were full of beautiful innocence and happiness and everybody that knew them just loved them. They were wonderful boys. They were just like any other boys, excitable, messy, funny, inquisitive. They were taking on the world like children do. Everybody who knew them has their own story to tell about what they were like."