Leicestershire - A man was found dead along with his two young sons after their mother discovered he had been booking prostitutes and searching for date-rape drugs online, an inquest heard yesterday.
David Stokes, 43, sparked a five-hour police siege when he attacked estranged wife Sally with a rolling pin at the marital home, three months after the couple had separated.
The court heard Mrs Stokes managed to flee the property after he stabbed her in the back. When officers forced their way in, they found Stokes in a bed with a knife in his chest – and the pyjama-clad bodies of the couple’s sons – Adam, 11, and Matthew, five – holding hands in Matthew’s bed.
The inquest heard that the tragedy unfolded hours after pub manager Mrs Stokes confronted her husband of five years when she checked his phone and noticed he had been looking at prostitutes on the internet.
She also found evidence that he had been searching for date-rape drugs, two days after the couple had been to a party together and she had woken the next morning feeling ‘spaced out’.
Mrs Stokes, 47, told a coroner that electrician Stokes had been ‘controlling’ throughout their 16 years together and had "lied about a lot of things" – including a £40 000 lottery win before they married.
Loughborough Coroner’s Court heard Stokes "spent all the cash on himself". The couple "kind of separated" a few months before the tragedy in Hinckley, Leicestershire, in 2016.
Mrs Stokes had found a phone hidden in a cupboard and her husband smashed it when she quizzed him about it.
Stokes began staying with his parents, but occasionally returned to spend time at the family home. On the day of the tragedy, Stokes had left his phone in the kitchen and Mrs Stokes noticed an email flash up on the screen about a prostitute booking. Later that evening, she visited his family to discuss what she had found – leaving the boys with Stokes.
The last evidence of the children being alive was a video on an iPad of them "interacting" with their father at 7pm – two hours before their mother returned home.
Mrs Stokes described how her ‘evil’ husband hit her with a rolling pin. He then tried to suffocate her with a pillow – telling her the children were "with someone".
She managed to flee into the garden and screamed for help, before Stokes dragged her back inside. The hearing was told a lengthy police stand-off began, with Stokes implying someone else was holding his sons and threatening to shoot or harm his wife.
Stokes stabbed her from behind at 2am. His wife said: "The look on his face was like satisfaction, as if he’d kind of won. I’ll never forget that." She then fled the house.
The cause of her sons’ deaths was ‘unascertained’.
A note written by Stokes was found in his shed. It said: ‘I fell back in love with my wife Sal. Today it all came crashing down so it all had to end.’