One man admitted killing his two small children during the lock-in while their mother was in the shower.
Nadarajah Nithiyakumar, 41, attacked daughter Pavinya, 19 months old, and son Nigash, three, with a knife in the family home in Ilford, East London, UK, on April 26. He pleaded guilty to two counts of manslaughter with reduced accountability, which was accepted by the prosecution of the London Central Criminal Court, the Old Bailey.
One prosecutor told the court that the psychiatrists had agreed that Nithiyakumar suffered from a delusional disorder “that caused him to kill his children. He had no history of violence, the court heard.
The mother of the children, locally known as Nisa, is said to have been crying in court when it happened. She was showering at the time of the murders and was the one who alerted the police. Pavinya was pronounced dead at the scene of the crime, while Nigash was taken to hospital where he later died.
Nithiyakumar was treated for stab wounds at the hospital and later charged with murdering the children. In a police interview, the store clerk accepted that he had killed his daughter and son with a knife, the court was told.
He said he was depressed, and while at work the customers “annoyed” him. He had thought about killing himself, but he believed it would “ruin the children’s lives and throw them off track,” a court had heard earlier.
He will return to be sentenced at a later date to be determined.
Data collected by the BBC last month showed that the number of murders in the UK capital exceeded 100 for the sixth consecutive year.
The London Metropolitan Police have launched 99 investigations into murder and manslaughter, while the British Transport Police have registered two cases. The data showed that six of these murders involved children aged 10 years and under, and 18 of them occurred when the capital was sealed off.
Separate figures published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) in October showed that murders increased across England and Wales during the closure despite a fall in overall crime. The number of murders rose by three percent to 686 in the year to June, the ONS said.
Welfare women’s groups had warned that the closure would lead to an increase in domestic violence and abuse and could potentially put the lives of victims at risk. The UK government provided an additional £2 million for domestic violence helplines during the first lockdown and has made it clear in the guidelines for the second lockdown across England that people fleeing danger are exempt from the “stay at home” rules.