A MUM from Sheffield and her two young children are feared to have been murdered in their home by her ex-partner.
The bodies of Joy Small, aged 24, and her two-year-old daughter Chanara and son Aubarr, three, were discovered in her flat in Leicester.
The body of a 32-year-old man - believed to be Joy’s ex-partner and father of the two children - had been found hours earlier at Watermead Country Park, Leicestershire.
Close friend Jennie Bland said Joy and her former partner had an abusive relationship, and that he once doused her in petrol and tried to set her alight.
Jennie, 27, described him as an “abusive monster”, adding: “He beat her all the time, he poured petrol on her and threw a mirror at her son.
“He tried to stop her seeing her friends.”
Joy, who was originally from Sheffield, met Jennie at their children’s doctors’ surgery in 2008.
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Jennie said Joy was a “good person” and a “fantastic mum”.
“She would have died for those children,” she added.
The couple split up after a troubled relationship, Jennie said, and she and Joy fell out when they got back together in November.
She said Joy was keeping it a secret because she was afraid her children would be taken away if anyone knew they were together again.
“She got back with him after being so strong,” Jennie said. “I couldn’t just sit back and let it happen, I should have just gone on my instincts and told the police and social services.”
Police confirmed the bodies of a 24-year-old woman, a three-year-old boy, and a girl aged two, were found at a property in Jersey Road, Leicester, on Saturday afternoon, and that the body of a man had been found the night before. They said all are believed to have been members of the same family.
A police spokeswoman said no causes of death had yet been established but the deaths of the woman and children are being treated as suspicious.
She added: “Officers are not looking for anyone else at this time.”
Floral tributes have been placed outside the flat, along with a pink and blue teddy bear.
One message read: “You’ll be sadly missed so much - sleep tight.”
A 16-year-old neighbour, who didn’t wish to be named, said she used to babysit for Joy.
“She was amazing, so placid. Someone would say something to her and she just wouldn’t say anything,” she said. “She was such a nice woman. I saw her on Thursday afternoon with her kids and she was fine.”