Chris Bradley pays tribute to wife-to-be stab victim Sarah Hines
A Norwich man has told of his horror after the 'light of his life' and her two children were stabbed to death – just days before he planned to leave the city to start a new life with her in Ireland.
Chris Bradley, left, 35, from Barnards Yard, said he was devastated after the body of 25-year-old Sarah Hines was found in a house in County Limerick, Ireland, on Tuesday.
With her were the bodies of her children, Reece, three, and five-month-old Amy, and her best friend Alicia Brough, 21, who had moved into the house on Monday. A man is being questioned about the deaths.
Mr Bradley said: 'It was like a fairytale romance, just to be together, but not in the end. She was the light of my life. She was the light of everyone's life.'
'I'm devastated. My wife-to-be has been killed. Both kids have been taken. All my plans have gone.'
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Mr Bradley, a martial arts and self-defence consultant, and Miss Hines were childhood sweethearts and grew up together in Chapel St Mary, Essex. Ten years her senior, Mr Bradley vowed he would marry her when she was old enough.
'We'd always had a good banter between each other and I'd always joke and tell her that one day I would marry her when she was old enough,' he said.
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Miss Hines moved to Ireland with her mother, Albina Ring, when she was 11, but returned to England to visit her father when she was 13. It was during this trip she saw Mr Bradley again and reminded him about what he had said.
'Sarah told me I used to tell her that when we get older we're going to make a pact and get married. She then told me her dad had said it was all right. I jokingly asked him and he said of course I can.'
That was the last time Mr Bradley spoke to Miss Hines until 2008 when she added him on the social networking site Facebook.
Miss Hines wrote to Mr Bradley and said: 'Do you remember what you said to me when I was young? Well I'm 25 now.'
Mr Bradley wrote back: 'Well it's better late than never.'
After the occasional message to each other they started talking more and in the last six months their relationship developed and they become closer. Then on Sunday, November 14 they both decided they would see their childhood pact through and Mr Bradley would move to Ireland to start a new life with Miss Hines and the children.
It was on the following Tuesday Mr Bradley received the text message that would change everything.
Jes Rolfe, 19, Miss Hines' brother, sent Mr Bradley a text message at 7.10pm and said: 'It's Sarah's brother. Listen they've just found bodies at her house, it was just confirmed that Sarah, Amy and Reece were stabbed to death last night, thought you should know. They've got a man for questioning. I'll keep you updated with the news.'
Mr Bradley, who has an eight-year-old son, planned to move on December 19.
One of the things Mr Bradley did to prepare for the move was to speak to the children over the phone.
'Sarah used to put the kids on the phone and I would speak to them a little bit. Amy used to coo down the phone and I used to get a bit of a conversation out of Reece. I couldn't understand his Irish accent and he used to tell me off for swearing,' he said.
He last spoke to Miss Hine at 12.30pm on Monday, November 12 and they laughed about her having to clean the house up for his arrival. 'I just wish I'd gone there earlier and married her,' he said.
Mr Bradley said the family are in 'bits' and he had been looking forward to being reunited with them.
He moved to Norwich almost two months ago, after spending his life in Essex, which is where he had become firm friends with the family.
'It's still not sunk in yet and I don't know how I feel. I'm so confused. I don't care about possessions, I only care about people,' he said.
'When she used to walk into a room, the room used to light up.'
Mr Bradley will be travelling to Ireland and wants to start up a charity in memory of Sarah.
Irish police confirmed that a 31-year-old man arrested in connection with the incident remains in custody.