Family speaks of shock over death of mother and daughter in village stabbing

The scene of the stabbing
The scene of the stabbing

The family of a mother and daughter who died in a stabbing in a quiet village said they are "too shocked" to comprehend their loss.

Margaret Harris, in her 70s, and her daughter Sharon, in her 50s, died at their home in Hadlow, Kent, on Saturday.

Police had been called by paramedics to a house in Carpenters Lane just after 7.40am. Margaret's husband David, also in his 70s, was airlifted to hospital with serious injuries after also being stabbed.

Neighbour Jack Ralph was arrested and charged with two counts of murder and one of attempted murder. The 28-year-old will appear in court on Monday.

Doris Pope, the sister of Margaret Harris, told Press Association: "We are just too shocked and haven't quite come to terms with it."

She said it was a "relief" to learn a suspect was due to appear in court accused of the attack.

Neighbours described the incident as "truly horrific" and something which had "rocked" the "quiet and friendly" village near Tonbridge.

Many spoke fondly of the older couple's love for their motorhome which they would often be seen tending to on the driveway in preparation for trips away.

Three people were found with injuries consistent with a stabbing, police said (Flora Thompson/PA)

Neighbour Margaret Maile, 63, said: "I wasn't at home on Saturday and didn't know anything about it until I came back to find the police cordon by our house.

"My son phoned me and told me Sharon and Margaret had died. I didn't know them well, they were quiet but pleasant. We would see them to say good morning to.

"They've lived here longer than us and we've been here 32 years.

"It's very sad, you just don't expect something like this to happen here."

Nigel Keogh, a 51-year-old plasterer who lives across the street, described Mr and Mrs Harris as a "nice couple", adding: "They kept themselves to themselves.

"They own a big campervan and would go out on trips in it."

On Sunday, Reverend Paul White led prayers in the street and said the village's St Mary's Church was open to mourners all day on Monday.

Police launched an investigation after finding three people wounded from serious injuries "consistent with a stabbing". Two women, aged in their 50s and 70s, died at the scene. The man, also in his 70s, was taken to hospital, according to a force spokeswoman.

Ralph was remanded in custody and will appear via video link at Medway Magistrates' Court on Monday.

Police believe the victims and suspect knew each other.