Police fear they may never know what drove a father to kill his partner and six-year-old son in a frenzied knife attack.
Paul Chadwick, 34, was detained under the Mental Health Act when he appeared for sentence at Preston Crown Court yesterday.
The freelance gardener pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of 40-year-old Lisa Clay and their child Joseph Chadwick on the grounds of diminished responsibility.
Mother and son were found with multiple stab wounds at the family bungalow in Lowlands Road, Bolton-le-Sands.
Det Supt Paul Withers, of Lancashire’s Major Investigation Team, said: “This was an absolutely tragic case involving the death of a woman and a young child in horrific circumstances.
“While we will probably never know exactly why Paul Chadwick did what he did, I am satisfied with today’s sentence and pleased the family were spared the ordeal of a trial. Our thoughts remain with those affected by this most appalling case.”
The court heard that when police were called to the family home they found young Joseph dead in his bedroom and his mother’s body in the hallway. Chadwick was also in the property suffering from serious self-inflicted knife wounds and had to be rushed to hospital.
The Crown Prosecution Service initially authorised police to charge Chadwick with murder, but the lesser manslaughter charges were accepted after psychiatric reports. Claire Hilton, senior prosecutor for CPS North West, said: “This is a tragic case involving the death of a mother and son who had their lives ahead of them. The psychiatric reports concluded that Mr Chadwick’s responsibility for his actions was substantially impaired at the time.
Joseph, described as “cheeky and fun-loving” by relatives, was a pupil at the village primary school where there are now plans to build a permanent memorial. Headteacher Tim Cross said: “We all miss Joseph, he was a lovely boy.”