“I found my mum and sisters dead”
Surviving daughter tells of the moment she found the victims of De Beauvoir triple killing
RHODENE Cunningham was just four when she found her mother and two older sisters brutally murdered in the family home.
Now aged 32 and with a daughter of her own, she has spoken of the harrowing moment she realised what had happened - and the pain she and her remaining family members have endured every day since.
“When I was four, I found my mum and my sisters dead in our flat we lived in. I was really scared. My mum was just lying there covered in blood. I ran upstairs and my sisters were in the bath. They were dead too.
“After the funeral, I went to live with my dad’s parents. I had a good upbringing, I enjoyed school, had a lot of friends, but at the back of my mind my mum and sisters were dead.
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“I couldn’t understand who would want to hurt them. It was hard for me to show emotion, no-one in the family would talk about it or talk to me. I would have a cry now and again. I would turn the music up loud in my room so my gran couldn’t hear me.
“It was weird going from being the youngest to the eldest, not being able to talk to my sisters about boys, make-up and secrets. I can remember taking their things and running off with them, having fun and laughing with them. What could it have been like growing up with them?
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I’ll never know, I never got the chance.
“As I got older it got harder. I knew they weren’t coming back. Every year on my birthday I would cry, it would be tears of happiness as I remembered them all but also of great sadness. As for my other family members, no-one would talk about my mum. I guess it was too much for them, they must have been too horrified to even say her name. I don’t think it was deliberate, just too painful to talk about.
“I fell pregnant at 18. I wanted my mum so bad, to hear her say she was there for me, and to hold her granddaughter for the first time. I told myself I can be a good mother, be the mother my mum would have been.
“It wasn’t just me who lost them, my dad did too. I can see the pain in his eyes whenever my mum and sisters were mentioned; he has lost his way in a nightmare he can’t wake up from.
“My own daughter has lost her aunts and her grandmother. When I told her what happened to my mum she became really scared something would happen to me and even though she never met them I know she misses them.
“I will never have my mum back to hug or see her smile, I will never be able to share a laugh or evening out with my sisters, but I will always have them in my heart and that will never change.”