Stabbed to death ... Rolls, 10, and Regina, eight, were found by police in father's flat
By MIKE SULLIVAN, ALEX WEST, GARY O’SHEA and CAROLINE GRANT
Published: 15 Feb 2011
A JILTED father allegedly knifed his two children to death then rang his estranged wife to say: "I've killed the kids."
Horrified police are said to have found Jean-Francis Say, 61, sitting in a chair in his flat a few feet from the bodies of son Rolls, ten, and daughter Regina, eight.
It is thought the children died of multiple stab wounds.
A source said: "The scene inside the house was harrowing. It's hard to imagine how terrified these poor children must have been.
"Why ring up your ex-wife afterwards and tell her what you've done? She is devastated with grief. She thinks her life is at an end."
Neighbours said Say was heartbroken when wife Antoinette left him for another man two years ago and took the children with her.
He told them he only realised something was wrong with his marriage when he got home and found Antoinette had gone. He went straight to the children's school to pick them up - and learned Antoinette had taken them with her.
Sylvia Murphy, 39, who lives in the same apartment block in Southwark, South London, said of Say: "He was very friendly and approachable, always dressed in a suit and looking smart and presentable I always thought he was a really nice man.
"When I found out what happened I was in complete shock, I couldn't sleep. I can't believe anyone could do that to children. The kids were both lovely. Rolls was an adorable little boy."
Sylvia said Say fought a custody battle for the children but was only allowed to see them on weekends.
She added: "The dad seemed like the busier parent. He always took them to school and picked them up.
"He always said he was the one who did everything for the kids and all his wife did was sleep and go to work."
Crime scene ... Say's apartment
French-speaking Say, believed to be from West Africa's Ivory Coast, recently confided his troubles to Sylvia and begged her to help him in his ongoing struggle for more access to the children.
She said: "He seemed absolutely devastated and poured his heart out to me about the kids.
"He said 'I gave them everything at Christmas, a Nintendo Wii and a Nintendo DS.'
"He asked me to write a good character reference for him to give to his solicitor as he was trying to get the children back.
"He wanted a shoulder to cry on, I don't think he had anyone to turn to. He thought I would be able to help him get the children back."
Antoinette, who is thought to have dialled 999 after Say allegedly phoned her on Sunday, was yesterday too upset to speak at her new home in Holloway, North London.
A friend said: "She's crying and can't speak to anyone. It's such a difficult time and she's so shocked."
Horror find ... flats where Say lives
A neighbour of Antoinette's said Rolls, who was autistic, and Regina were polite children who had clearly been well brought up.
She added: "They were always with their mum and were so well behaved. I never saw them out on their own. Most of the kids round here are terrible. But these two were the kind who opened doors for you. They seemed intelligent." Police were yesterday searching a communal garden outside the housing association flats in Empire Square where the children were found dead.
Others who live in the flats described Say as quiet but cheerful and polite. A caretaker said: "He was a nice man and was always smiling. I think he worked as a security guard and occasionally did stewarding at football matches."
Plumber Scott McEwan said: "We knew something had gone badly wrong because there were lots of police around on Sunday.
"Then we saw officers in paper suits going in and out of the flat. I just couldn't believe it when I heard that two kids had died." Police sources said Say, who is accused of murder, has not yet spoken to officers attempting to interview him. He appeared briefly at Camberwell Green Magistrates' Court yesterday.
Balding and powerfully-built, he confirmed his name, address and other personal details through a French interpreter. He was remanded in custody. Say was last night said to be on suicide watch after allegedly threatening to harm himself.
English Martyrs School in Southwark, which Rolls attended before he moved away with his mum, declined to comment.
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