A dad has appeared in court charged with murdering his wife and daughter as the womens’ grieving relatives said they were ‘at a loss to know why they died’.
John Redfern, aged 70, appeared at Rotherham Magistrates Court yesterday, charged with murdering his wife Jean, aged 70 and daughter Sarah, aged 33.
Neighbours who knew them said they were ‘stunned’ after Peter Redfern was arrested and charged with two counts of murder.
The 70-year-old spoke only to confirm his name, date of birth and address during the brief hearing at Rotherham Magistrates’ Court.
A police guard remained at the family’s bungalow on Sandygate, Wath-Upon-Dearne, yesterday, and forensic teams were still at work.
In a statement released by police, a relative said: “The family of Jean and Sarah are devastated by the news of their deaths.
“Jean was a much loved sister and aunt. Sarah was a wonderful, kind and loving niece and cousin.
“We are at a loss to know why they died, but ask as a family that we are allowed to grieve and try to come to terms with what has happened.”
A South Yorkshire Police spokeswoman said Jean died from asphyxiation and Sarah’s death was caused by severe head injuries.
Neighbour Pamela Pepper, who has lived across the road for more than 30 years, told The Star: “I just can’t get it out of my head - I’m gobsmacked.
“We’re all shocked, it’s such a tragedy and you don’t expect tragedies to happen on your street.
“We’re stunned to hear Peter has been charged.
“He was always a very quiet man, as was Jean. They didn’t mix much with anybody, but always seemed like such a close family.”
Another neighbour, who did not wish to be named, said she hadn’t slept since the two womens’ bodies were found on Monday.
“It really upset me, I used to chat to Sarah on the bus and when I was out walking my dog.
“She and her mum Jean were like sisters, they were so similar and both lovely women. It’s unfathomable to me that both of their lives have been cut short like this.
Another neighbour added: “I keep hearing from people that Peter had recently been diagnosed with bone cancer.”
“I don’t know if that had anything to do with this.”
A spokeswoman for clothing firm Bonmarche - where Sarah worked in Rotherham town centre - said staff were ‘deeply shocked to hear the devastating news’.
She added: “Sarah was a valued member of the Rotherham Bonmarche store where she had worked for over nine years.
“Our thoughts are with Sarah’s family and friends at this very difficult time.”
District judge Jonathan Taaffe remanded Peter Redfern in custody until his next appearance at Sheffield Crown Court on August 7.