Inquest hears police think son was hit with a sledgehammer before the fire

Ben and Pat Philpotts were killed in January 2010 Credit: ITV Westcountry

An inquest has heard how police received six previous domestic abuse calls from the home of a mother and son killed in a house fire in Cornwall.

Police and fire officers told the inquest in Truro that they believe Harry Philpotts struck his ten year old son Ben with a sledgehammer before starting an 'explosive' fire with petrol that claimed the life of his estranged wife Patricia.

Police at the family home in Trevarrian near Newquay Credit: ITV Westcountry

Mr Philpotts, who had mental health problems, also later died from burns. Though he was known to mental health services and his family had raised concerns, the inquest in Truro heard four separate reviews into the case by health agencies had found the violent deaths couldn't have been predicted.

A number of recommendations on how mental health services and care agencies could communicate and work together more effectively have since been made.

The hearing continues.

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Trevarrian Fire Inquest

Inquest into the death of a family killed in a house fire near Newquay in January 2010.