Domestic abuse victim tells harrowing story of how his dad killed his mother and sister
Luke Hart grew up in what he thought was a normal family.
With a large house, frequent trips out as a pack of five, Luke and his brother Ryan were two A* students. Sister, Charlotte, was a keen horse rider and best friends with mum, Claire. For a while, the family lived a self-sufficient lifestyle with little money before their mother took a job at a supermarket and they moved to a small village, along with dad Lance.
As far as everything appeared, all seemed as it should be. But it wasn't.
Luke's father, Lance Hart, had a controlling hold on Luke's mother and siblings, exercising a grip on every element of their lives. The regime of fear he maintained over the family was ruthless - there was no step he was unwilling to take to maintain his control.
As a child, doctors told the family that Luke had an allergy to peanuts. In years to come, Luke's father would feed him peanut butter in an attempt to scare his mother - and it worked. Isolated from the outside world, the family lived under a dark cloud, terrified to step out of line for fear of what may happen.
His father subjected the family to years of mental torture. He would drive at 70mph in a 30mph area to scare them. He would leave their mother in agonising pain by triggering a nerve that would set off her MS, leaving her paralysed by the fear of his actions to come.
When the family would stand up to their father they would soon live to regret it. Lance would withhold his initial reactions, doling out punishments hours later in retaliation for being confronted.
When the boys went to university to study engineering, he charged them a nightly fee to return home - it was an attempt to prevent them from checking their mother and sister were not being harmed.
The point came when enough was enough. After years of working hard and saving, the boys had saved enough money to help their mother and sister escape. They rented a small cottage not far from the family home. When their father was out, they hired a van to help them move their stuff. They employed a locksmith to help them break their passports from the safe in the garage where their father had locked them.
The family thought they were free - but that wasn't the case. Four days later, whilst leaving a swimming pool in Spalding, their father confronted their mother and sister. Armed with a single-barrelled shotgun, he brutally shot them. He then turned the gun on himself.
Whilst waiting at the local police station, Luke and his brother saw a poster about domestic violence. It was only then that they realised what had been happening within their family. Police later discovered that their father had been looking online for ways to kill their mother, his wife.
Two years on from the events in the swimming pool car park, Luke and brother Ryan have released a book, Operation Lighthouse, to share their stories and support victims of domestic abuse.
Luke told Good Morning Britain: "We for a long period didn't realise we were living in a house with domestic abuse. We didn't realise actually until our father had killed our mother and sister. One of the things we learnt after the event when we were sitting in the police station in Spalding, there was a poster behind us that explained coercive control. It had only recently become against the law."
He continued: "It labelled a number of behaviour characteristics as part of a pattern of behaviours that are designed to control a human being. Me and my brother had always thought that domestic abuse was about a linear progression of violence, it was about fights and confrontations. We'd known our father was bad, we hadn't known he was dangerous."
Free help and support are available for people concerned about domestic violence. More details are available here.