Police in Bradford are investigating why a well-respected father apparently murdered his wife and two daughters before killing himself. The bodies of 49-year-old Jitendra Lad, his wife, 44-year-old Duksha, and their two daughters, Trisha, 19, and Nisha, 17, were found on Monday night at their home in Clayton, a suburb three miles west of Bradford city centre.
It is believed that Jitendra hanged himself, but a postmortem examination will soon officially confirm how all four family members died.
West Yorkshire police said detectives believed the family had died some days before they were discovered by neighbours, who were concerned they had not been seen for a while. No one is being sought in connection with the killings.
Both parents worked for Bradford council: Jitendra as a control and payment specialist, and Duksha as an officer overseeing school appeals. Trisha was in her second year studying biochemistry at the University of Leeds and Nisha was in the sixth form at nearby Thornton grammar.
The family were well regarded locally, according to a neighbour, Barry Hawkin, who said he last saw Jitendra on Friday. “They were a lovely couple and the kids were lovely. Well mannered,” he said.
Jitendra was a keen scuba diver. Earlier this year, he posted a photograph of himself wearing his diving gear on Facebook, with the caption: “Finally qualified as an ocean diver.” His diving club, the Guiseley sub-aqua club, declined to comment on Tuesday. Brought up in Bradford, he attended Grange technology college, according to his Facebook profile.
The couple’s colleagues at Bradford council were said to be in shock. Councillor Ralph Berry, lead member for children, said he knew Duksha. “We are totally shocked at the tragic loss of a respected officer,” he said.
After the news broke on Tuesday morning, a stream of tearful teenagers arrived at the detached house to leave floral tributes to the two girls. Neighbours said they could not understand how such a thing could happen to what had seemed a normal, happy family.
Carol Thirkill, a local councillor, said she knew the family by sight and that they had a good reputation. She described Clayton as a nice, quiet area.
Melissa Taylor, president of the faculty of biological sciences society at Leeds University, said on Twitter: “Heartbreaking to hear about the death of Trisha Lad, such a lovely, well-liked person. Rest in peace.” Another friend, Steph Mapplebeck, wrote: “Trisha Lad was one of the sweetest and kindest people I have met whilst studying at Leeds. What a heartbreaking loss. Rest in peace.”
Sinclair Belle, Trisha’s form tutor for three years, said: “In each morning registration, for three years, Trisha Lad greeted me with a smile. She was one of the hardest working members of my form and for this reason she succeeded as a student.
“However, her genuine humanity is what stood out about her – a fact that seemed to be logically explained by the support and compassion of her parents. The Lads emanated warmth each time I met them, even after Trisha left for university, which makes their tragic passing even more heart-wrenching and unfathomable.”
Jessica Garside, 18, who went to Thornton grammar with Trisha, said of her schoolfriend: “She was a lovely person. Never bitchy, never said anything bad about anybody.”
Sehaj Singh, 19, said he had known Trisha for eight years and last saw her during freshers’ week at the university. He said: “She was really nice. She was just one of those people who got on with things.” .
A spokesman for the University of Leeds said: “This is dreadful and shocking news and our thoughts are with Trisha’s friends and loved ones.”
Chris Sampson, head of Thornton grammar school, said: “We are deeply shocked and saddened by these tragic deaths. Our thoughts are with the family’s relatives and friends. We will be helping the police with their inquiry in any way we can.”
David Green, the leader of Bradford Council, said: “Local people are shocked and saddened by the news of this terrible event and our sympathy goes out to the wider family, friends and neighbours of this family. The husband and wife of the family, Jitendra Lad and Duksha Lad, both worked for Bradford council and councillors and employees are very upset after hearing the dreadful news.
“Obviously, it would not be appropriate to comment further at this stage as the investigation into how it happened is continuing, but we would urge anyone who may have any information about this tragedy to contact the police immediately.”
West Yorkshire police said: “Early indications suggest the bodies may have been in the property for some time. Postmortems will now be carried out to establish the cause of the deaths.”
Det Supt Simon Atkinson, from West Yorkshire police’s protective services (crime), said: “This is clearly a significant incident, and our investigation will be thorough as we piece together the events that have led to the deaths of a local family. The investigation is at an early stage, and while I do not want to speculate around the circumstances leading to the deaths, I can confirm that we are not looking for anyone else in connection with this incident.”
Superintendent Damien Miller, who leads neighbourhood policing across the Bradford District, said: “Clayton is a close knit community and I understand that local people will be understandably upset by what has taken place and I would like to reassure people there is no wider danger to members of the public.
“Additional neighbourhood officers are in the area speaking to people and offering reassurance.”