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Toddler 'was stabbed in the neck'

A toddler who was found dead at his home alongside his mother, father and brother had been stabbed in the neck, a coroner has said.

Aaron Smith, 13 months, is thought to have been attacked along with his mother Clair Smith, 36, and his brother Ben, nine, by his father Richard Smith, 37, who then killed himself.

It appears Smith stabbed his wife and children before setting light to the main bedroom of their detached home in Pudsey, near Leeds, and killing himself by smoke inhalation.

Leeds Coroner David Hinchliff opened and adjourned inquests into all four deaths at a 15-minute hearing in the city.

He confirmed Aaron had died from a stab wound to the neck, which severed the carotid artery and jugular vein.

Mr Hinchliff said his brother died from suffocation due to the obstruction of his airway and smoke inhalation. Police have said Ben was also stabbed.

Mrs Smith died from a stab wound to the chest and "external compression to the neck".

The court heard Richard Smith died from smoke inhalation.

Family members said the family appeared to have no problems and could not understand what had happened.

The police officer leading the investigation, Detective Superintendent Paul Taylor, told the inquest no further tests on the bodies were needed and Mr Hinchliff ruled they could be released and adjourned the inquests to a date to be fixed.

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