A MOTHER who murdered her five-year-old son before leaping to her death may have been seeking revenge against her ex, a report says.
Cheryl Tompsett killed five-year-old Leo then leapt to her death from Beachy Head on Father’s Day.
In a report into the tragedy Tompsett’s older children described her as a “narcissist who was only happy when she was the centre of attention”.
The report by the Kent Safeguarding Children’s Board added: “They described an early childhood of physical and emotional abuse. The half-siblings referred to her attention seeking behaviour.”
The report concluded that it was not clear why Tompsett committed the homicide-suicide but suggested she may have felt overly attached to Leo and “unable to perceive the child could cope without her” after a court order gave his father custody.
Bereavement councillor Tompsett, of Maidstone, Kent, had subjected Leo’s father Mark Woodhams to domestic abuse and her other children reported “an early childhood of physical and emotional abuse”.
The report continued: “Narcissistic parents are exclusively and possessively close to their children and may be especially envious of, and threatened by, their child’s growing independence. This may result in the child being considered to exist solely to fulfil the parent’s wishes and needs. An alternative explanation for the homicide-suicide is that it was spousal revenge intended as a mechanism to hurt her ex-partner; a theory that could be supported by the death having occurred on Father’s Day.
“The reality is that the mother’s intention is still unknown and as there was no indication prior to the event of her intention to physically harm.”
After the tragedy Mr Woodhams described his son as “our shining light, our brightest star.”
The estranged couple had been locked in a custody battle over Leo, with Tompsett allowed to see him one day a week. After one of these visits on Sunday, June 17, Ms Tompsett never returned with Leo.
The report concluded that information should have been shared better between agencies and better support provided to help men realise they are victims of domestic abuse. However, there were no concerns raised about Leo coming to physical harm prior to the tragedy.
The report concluded: “Even with the benefit of hindsight there was no evidence of significant abuse prior to the death.
“The major issue of concern identified by the father and half-siblings was a risk of emotional harm from mother and neither the family members, nor any professional in contact with the child, observed anything that would indicate the child was at risk of physical harm. As with any review there have been identified some areas where professional practice could be improved, however, there is no evidence that this would have led to a different outcome for the child.”