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Stabbings tragedy stuns community

By Cornish Guardian  |  Posted: October 05, 2012

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MYSTERY continues to surround the circumstances of what caused a former army sergeant from Lostwithiel who survived a horrific IRA bomb blast to stab his two young children to death before taking his own life.

The bodies of Michael Pedersen, 51, who lived in Fowey before moving to Lostwithiel, Ben, 7, and Freya, 6, were discovered in a rural lane near Andover, Hampshire on Sunday evening.

The twice-married former Household Cavalry solider, who was living in Chertsey, Surrey, was a survivor in the 1982 IRA nail bomb blast in Hyde Park, London, which killed four soldiers and seven horses.

Mr Pedersen's unit was taking part in a Changing the Guard ceremony when the explosion happened.

In picturesque Lostwithiel the community has been rocked by the tragedy which is said to have occurred while Mr Pedersen was on an arranged visit with his two children from his estranged wife Erica, whom he married in St Austell.

Mr Pedersen's mother, Kathleen, and brother, Rob, a car mechanic, still live in Lostwithiel, but the family were not available to speak to the Cornish Guardian.

Mayor Gill Parsons said: "My heartfelt sympathy goes out to all the members of the family involved in this terrible tragedy." Former mayor and town councillor Vic May also added his condolences.

"It is very, very sad," said Mr May. "I'm sure people here will give the family whatever support they need."

Town councillor John Pegg echoed the words of his colleagues. "Our condolences go out to the whole family at this difficult time," he said.

After miraculously surviving the bomb blast Mr Pedersen returned to the close-knit community to recuperate with his family by his side.

He sustained facial burns, shrapnel wounds, a six-inch nail embedded in his hand and a perforated ear drum.

Mr Pedersen's horse, Sefton, was seriously injured and suffered 34 separate wounds that required eight hours of surgery.

Sefton, who won a Horse of the Year award, became a national treasure.

It is believed Mr Pedersen and his second wife, Erica, met and later married in St Austell in 2002.

It has been reported that Mr Pedersen had been left anguished over a split from his wife.

He had even taken to social networking site Facebook to share his pain from the break-up, it has been said.

Detective Superintendent Tony Harris, of Hampshire Police, said Mr Pedersen had taken the children to visit his father in Andover but failed to return them to their mother at the time they had agreed. Their bodies were discovered lying behind the car by a walker at 6.15pm on Sunday.

Mr Harris, of Hampshire Police, said: "It appears the children suffered fatal stab wounds and Mr Pedersen took his own life shortly afterwards. It is very tragic, it's a dreadful loss of life, one of the most tragic cases I have had to deal with."

A post-mortem examination confirmed that Mr Pedersen died from stab wounds to the chest, according to Hampshire Police.

Post-mortem examinations on the two children were due to be held later.

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