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File photo - Trooper Michael Pedersen with Sefton in 1982

Trooper Michael Pedersen with Sefton Credit: PA

Trooper Michael Pedersen at the Horse of the Year Show with Sefton, the Household Cavalry horse badly injured in the IRA bombing incident in Hyde Park, in 1982.

The family of two children whose bodies were found with their father's in a countryside lane have spoken of their devastation.

The bodies of Michael, 51, Ben, seven, and Freya Pedersen, six, were found next to a Saab 900SE convertible car in the tiny lane at Newton Stacey, near Andover, on Sunday.

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Father was former soldier

A father who police believe killed his two young children before killing himself was a former army sergeant who survived a devastating IRA bomb blast.

The 1982 bomb attack hit as Michael Pedersen's unit was taking part in changing of the guard. Four soldiers and seven horses were killed in the explosion.

Mr Pedersen's horse Sefton was left seriously injured, but despite 34 wounds that required eight hours of surgery, the animal survived.

Sefton later became symbolic of the struggle against the IRA and won the Horse of the Year.

A former colleague who served in the Household Cavalry with Mr Pedersen has told reporters he saw him in July at an event to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the bombing.

Alex Chalmers said: "He was in good spirits. He didn't mention anything at all, he was just good humoured."

Picture of father, whose body was found beside his two stabbed children

Michael Pedersen, whose body was found beside those of his children Credit: INS

The bodies of a father and his two young children have been discovered beside a car on a bridleway near Andover. They were 51-year- old Michael Pedersen, who's from Chertsey in Surrey and Ben and Freya Pedersen, aged seven and six, from Middlesex.

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