Amy Philcox, 7, and her brother Owen, 3, who were found dead with their father Brian Philcox in his car in north Wales
Brian Philcox, 37, had told friends that he feared losing custody of his children
A divorced man murdered his two young children after taking them on a Fathers’ Day treat and then took his own life on a lonely Welsh hillside after an acrimonious split with his wife, it emerged today.
Brian Philcox, a supporter of the pressure group Fathers4Justice, telephoned the children’s mother beforehand to leave a message saying: “I have left you a present — I’ll make the papers, just you wait”.Philcox, 53, a karate instructor and security guard, had told friends that he feared losing custody of his children, Amy, 7, and Owen, three, and the life savings he had sunk into the family home in Runcorn, Cheshire.
He had the care of the children for Fathers’ Day weekend when he prompted a bomb alert at a four-bedroom maisonette after phoning his estranged wife Evelyn, 37, with the warning.
While bomb disposal experts entered the house in Cheshire, Mr Philcox was thought to have driven the childen in his Land Rover Freelander to a remote spot on an unclassified road just off the A470 between Maenan and Tal-y-Cafn, in Snowdonia, where he killed them and then himself.
It emerged today that he had taken the children on a promised trip to a countryside steam railway before running a pipe from the car's exhaust and in through the rear window.
He then sat beside his son and daughter on the back seat as they were overcome by exhaust fumes. They were found by a passer-by at 3pm on Sunday afternoon.
Friends on the Windmill Hill estate spoke of a violent and erratic man who was facing the imminent prospect of divorce proceedings. As vice-president of Karate England, he was a leading light in the karate world, achieving the status of sixth dan.
He was also said to be an active supporter of Fathers4Justice. The group confirmed last night that he had contacted them on several occasions but failed to follow up his interest.
Mr and Mrs Philcox were married in Halton, Cheshire, in 2000 — a second marriage for both of them. It foundered about18 months ago when Mrs Philcox, known as Lyne, left the family home with the children.
It is understood that Mr Philcox was facing legal action this week over who should live in the family home.
Neighbours saw him happily playing football with his children on Friday evening on the village green, but one had heard him complain: “I have lost my wife, I have lost my job and I have lost my kids. I am now going to lose my house.
“I would rather burn the house down than give it to that f****** bitch.
One said: “I saw him take the kids away last week. He had a filthy look on his face. It was very tense between them”.
Another neighbour said that Mrs Philcox had complained that she was frightened of her former husband and what he was capable of. “He would come around to where she was staying, banging on the back windows and giving her hassle,” said the neighbour.
“She is a beautiful girl. You never saw her alone. She was always with her chldren. She is one of the most beautiful women you could ever wish to meet."
Others suggested that she had complained to police of his violence, and that he used to beat her son Ryan McAuliffe, 19.
One said: “He was brutal towards Ryan. Lyn could not handle him beating up her own son. She would say, ’You are not treating my kids like that’. She told me he had punched her son Ryan and hurt him”.
This evening police sealed off a park in Runcorn to inspect a suspect package that it is believed Mr McAuliffe had received in the post overnight.
Mr Philcox had picked up his two children from his estranged wife’s home at 7pm on Friday as part of normal access arrangements and was due to return them on Saturday afternoon.
Mrs Philcox alerted police when he failed to return and a full-scale search was mounted after he phoned her. Bomb-disposal experts who went to his home found that Mr Philcox had left a realistic-looking hoax device, which was found not to be viable. More than a 100 residents were temporarily from removed their homes.
North Wales police revealed that Mr Philcox had taken his daughter and son to Llangollen, which they had said they wanted to visit. The three were found 30 miles away.
Detective Chief Inspector Wayne Jones said that all three had died from carbon monoxide poisoning and that there were no signs of any other injuries on the bodies.
A witness had spotted the car at the beauty spot late on Saturday afternoon when Mr Philcox was seen sitting in the driver’s seat smoking a cigarette, he said.
Mr Jones said that police wanted to establish Mr Philcox’s movements from the time that he collected the children until their bodies were found 44 hours later.
He said:”We cannot speculate on the motives. There was no indication that he was going to do anything to harm the children and he had said nothing which would cause relatives any concern.
“We are aware that he was an expert in judo and karate and that is a line we are pursuing but there were no signs of any injury on the children."
He appealed for anyone who may have seen the blue Land Rover Freelander, registration number W537 MNC, to come forward.
“We are keen to establish what time the car was parked at the spot," he said. "We cannot find any information that would link him to that particular scene. It would appear to be a location that was chosen randomly.
“This is a very difficult case , particular for the family members who are receiving support from specially trained family liaison officers. We are professionals who are trying to do the job of uncovering as much information as we can.”
The children’s mother was being looked after and comforted by police and family members, he said.
Matt O’Connor, the founder of Fathers4Justice said: “This is yet another tragic case that demonstrates how family breakdown is an unfolding national tragedy for families and children.
“Fathers love their children. Killing them is against the paternal instinct, but while some people are driven to scaling bridges out of desperation, others see a future so bleak, and fear the living bereavement of losing their children so much, that they turn away from hope.”
Karate expert Brian Philcox killed his children after Fathers' Day treat - Times Online
F4J link to dead father and children
Three bodies from the same family found in car
My Two cents-
What a shame, when will the system get it?
Things in the family courts NEED TO BE CHANGED!