MURDER FAMILY'S LAST DAY OF JOY .. FIRST PICTURE OF TRAGIC DAD.
KNEELING down and clutching a cake with candles on top, Fiona Donnison looks on adoringly as son Harry plays with little sister Elise at his third birthday party.
Just five months later, Harry and twoyear-old Elise are dead - and Donnison has been charged with killing them.
Last night friends and relatives of the former City high-flyer told how this picture - taken in August - captures one of the last times she was truly happy.
They say just weeks later she plunged into depression after husband Paul, 46, seen for the first time in our picture, told her their relationship was over.
They revealed how Donnison, 43, who yesterday appeared in court charged with the murder of the children, feared Paul had met someone else.
And that heartbreak, coupled with the cot death six years earlier of their first child Mia, made her world fall apart.
In an exclusive interview, Donnison's brother Angus Kirkhope said: "Fiona is a doting and loving mother. She always put her children first. But she has been deeply troubled by her relationship with Paul."
Angus, 42, of Welwyn Garden City, Herts, also said of Donnison, who has two adult sons from a previous marriage: "Our whole family are thinking of her."
A family friend added: "After the split Fiona feared Paul had found someone else and it left her devastated. She was locked in a dark world.
"Losing Mia was hard enough. But facing up to the fact her marriage could be about to end was too much for Fiona to take. She begged Paul to take her back, but to no avail. Eventually, the rejection caused her to break down. She spent weeks living with family and friends. They did all they could but no one could drag her out it. No one could make her see that things would be OK. You'd talk to her but she wouldn't listen.
"Fiona had lost weight. She spent most of her time in tears and eventually lost interest in life."
Harry and Elise's aunt Nicola Donnison, of Chertsey, Surrey, said: "No one can believe what has happened to these beautiful children. Paul is shattered. He is in pieces. Our family is trying to give him support. But what can you say when something so horrendous has happened?" Donnison, of Lightwater, Surrey, looked pale as she appeared before magistrates at Lewes, Sussex, yesterday accused of the double murders.
Wearing a baggy blue jumper, she held her hands clasped in front of her as she spoke only to confirm her name, date of birth and address during the 10-minute hearing, which was adjourned without her entering a plea.
About half a dozen of her relatives were in court. As she was led away there were shouts of "We love you, Fi".
The bodies of Harry and Elise were found by police on Wednesday in holdalls in the boot of a silver Nissan car. Donnison was arrested on suspicion of murder after she attended a police station with slashed wrists following a suicide attempt.
Post-mortem tests showed the toddlers had been dead for less than 24 hours - and that they had been suffocated.
Paul was not in court. He said on Friday: "Harry and Elise were the lights that shone the brightest in my life."
Police at family home in Surrey yesterday Depressed...'doting and loving mum' Donnison Shielded...Donnison leaves court yesterday Fiona Donnison kneels with a birthday cake for Harry as he plays with sister Elise. Dad Paul looks on
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|Publication:||Sunday Mirror (London, England)|
|Date:||Jan 31, 2010|
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