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Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Parricide - Police officer
Number of victims: 3
Date of murders: August 28, 2001
Date of birth: 1965
Victims profile: His pregnant wife, Jill Bluestone, 31, and their sons Henry, 3, and Chandler, 18-month-old
Method of murder: Hitting with a hammer
Location: Gravesend, Kent, England, United Kingdom
Status: Committed suicide by hanging himself the same day

Karl Bluestone

On August 28th 2001 Gravesend police officer Karl Bluestone had an after-shift drink in the pub with officers from his Windmill Street station, settled down in front of the television to watch police soap opera The Bill, then murdered his pregnant wife and two pre-school children with a claw hammer and hanged himself in the garage with rope he had bought earlier that day. Their two other infant children were injured but survived the attack.

PC Bluestone had been arrested for domestic violence in 1994 and 1999, though no charges had been brought. He swallowed a bottle of pills in the back of a police car during the second arrest and his stomach had been pumped at hospital. He had subsequently taken time off sick and Kent Police had reassigned him to a unit dealing with the prevention of criminal damage, which targeted children.

The couple had a stormy marriage and had both had affairs while running up debts of over twenty-five thousand pounds. Jill Bluestone, from Middlesbrough, worked full-time with Basildon Council and earned far more than her husband. She and her four children were members of the local Methodist congregation. PC Bluestone's former wife and first child lived nearby, as did his parents, former Labour councillors. Gravesham Civic Centre is also on Windmill Street. Though PC Bluestone's childhood home was in Gravesend, he was not given the police funeral customary for serving officers.


Suicide policeman kills wife and sons

August 29, 2001

A policeman bludgeoned his wife and two young sons to death at the family home before hanging himself, it emerged today.

Officers were called to the semi-detached house in a quiet residential area of Kent last night following reports of a domestic incident but found shocking scenes described by one as 'horrific'.

Bodies, including those of the constable's 18-month-old and three year-old sons, were found in separate rooms of the house in Gravesend.

Detectives, who say the incident is being treated as a murder-suicide, said no gun was used in the killings but say a blunt weapon of some kind was used. It has been recovered by forensic experts.

The constable, named today as Pc Karl Bluestone, 36, was found dead in a detached garage at the rear of the three-bedroom house in Marling Way, Gravesend. He was wearing casual clothes when he was found.

Officers found the bodies of his wife Jill Bluestone, 31, and her son Henry, three. The couple's three other children were rushed to the Darent Valley Hospital in Dartford, where 18-month-old Chandler died of his injuries.

Officers said they found one body upstairs and one downstairs and that all the curtains were drawn when they entered the house.

All the children were dressed for bed when officers found them.

The survivors are Jack, eight, who is in a critical but stable condition in hospital, and Jessica, seven, who escaped with only minor injuries.

Jack was later moved from Darent Valley to King's College Hospital in London suffering with serious head injuries.

Jessica raised the alarm by banging on a neighbour's door at around 10pm last night. A Kent Police spokeswoman said officers were called to the scene by neighbours in the adjoining semi-detached house.

She said: "The seven-year-old girl had knocked on their door in a very distressed state and they took her in and called the police. Our officers came round expecting to find a domestic. They were obviously not expecting what they found.

"They were faced with a horrific scene. The victims were in different rooms in the house."

Detectives are now trying to piece together what may have led Pc Bluestone, a respected officer and father who is said to have adored his children, to kill and injure his family.

Neighbours said they had heard Mr and Mrs Bluestone arguing in the past but said they were unaware of any domestic problems between the couple.

They described Pc Bluestone, who was part of a police team appointed to tackle crime in rural areas, as a quiet unassuming policeman who loved his children.

Peter Snelling, a self-employed electrician in his 50s, said the PC had always been a quiet introverted man who bottled up his feelings, but added that he still could not imagine him turning on his children.

He said: "He cannot be the same bloke I know to have done what he's done. I have known him since he was a young boy and he was a smashing fellow, but you never know what goes on in people's lives."

Pc Bluestone grew up in Frobisher Way, Gravesend, with his two younger sisters. He has another child from a former marriage.

While other family members comforted the two surviving children in hospital, a team of forensic experts combed the house for clues. The family's Mitsubishi Shogun was parked in the drive.

Officers recovered a weapon from the scene which will be examined as part of the post-mortem, taking place today at Darent Valley Hospital in Dartford.

The police spokesman said the 18-month-old boy, Chandler, had been alive when brought out of the house, but died in the early hours of this morning.

Pc Bluestone, who joined Kent Police in 1987, went to work as normal yesterday and was due at work at 8am today. He was part of a rural tactical unit used to target specific crimes in north Kent, such as criminal damage or vandalism but was not a firearms officer.

The police spokeswoman said: "This is a totally unexpected and tragic incident. Pc Bluestone's colleagues had not noticed anything wrong with him. Everyone is shocked by what has happened."

Graham Smerdon, chairman of the Kent Police Federation, said: "It is with great sadness that we heard of the tragic news surrounding our colleague Karl Bluestone and his family.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the surviving children and other members of the respective families and friends, and also Karl's fellow officers who were called upon to deal with this incident."


Family killer PC in domestic dispute

BBC News

Thursday, 30 August, 2001

A policeman who murdered his wife and two of his children before taking his own life had previously been arrested over a domestic dispute, police have said.

PC Karl Bluestone, 36, was not charged after the incident in June 1999 when one of his children was accidentally injured as things were thrown across the room.

Detectives were on Thursday trying to discover what drove PC Bluestone to attack his family with a claw hammer before hanging himself at their home in Gravesend, Kent, on Tuesday night.

Neighbours raised the possibility he was suffering from depression, while several national newspapers speculated that he or his wife were having an affair.

A Kent Police spokesperson said on Thursday: "He was arrested in June 1999 at the home following a domestic dispute.

"He was arrested for a breach of the peace and that incident did not result in any charges."

His wife refused to pursue the allegation, but an advisory file was sent to the Crown Prosecution Service as one of the children had been injured during the fight.

Kent Police said no disciplinary action had been brought against PC Bluestone over the incident.

'Daddy is trying to hurt me'

A coroner is investigating the four deaths and will hold a full inquest later in the year.

Forensic officers who visited the house after the killings were using a technique known as "blood patterning" to determine who was killed first and where the blows were directed.

Colleagues of PC Bluestone were called to the house on Tuesday after his daughter Jessica, seven, fled and alerted neighbours.

She is reported to have shouted: "Help, my daddy is trying to hurt me."

Police arrived to find PC Bluestone's wife Jill, 31, dead in the kitchen. The body of their son Henry, aged three, was found at the bottom of the stairs.

The couple's three other children were rushed to Darent Valley Hospital in Dartford where 18-month-old Chandler later died.

Eight-year-old Jack is now off the critical list and described as a "stable" at London's King's College Hospital.

Seven-year-old Jessica, who escaped with only minor injuries, has now been discharged from hospital.


Stunned local residents have continued to leave floral tributes, teddy bears and personal messages outside the house in Marling Way.

One carried the message: "Jessica, I hope you get better soon."

A former nanny of the four children, who worked for the Bluestones until last November, said she had always believed that they were "the perfect family".

Julia Williams, 34, who lives near their home, said she was "devastated" by the news.

"There was no way of seeing this coming.

"Things go on at homes behind closed doors which you do not know about, but I did not for one minute think Karl was capable of this.

"They seemed to be the perfect family, with two highly successful parents and four lovely children."

One neighbour, Marion Jones, 60, said it was known that the couple "had had their bust-ups" and that the police had been called to the house "many months ago".

She said: "It has not really been talked about amongst the neighbours since because this is the sort of street where people respect each others privacy."

Julia Williams used to be a childminder for the Bluestones


Victim's funeral

BBC News

September 7, 2001

The funeral of a mother and her two sons murdered by their policeman father has taken place in Middlesbrough.

The bodies of Jill Bluestone and brothers Henry, three, and 18-month-old Chandler, were brought to Nunthorpe Methodist Church on Friday.

A single hearse carried all three coffins, closely followed by two cars carrying family members.

The three were killed by PC Karl Bluestone at their home in Gravesend, Kent, on 28 August when he attacked them with a claw hammer.

Mrs Bluestone's coffin was the first to be taken into the church, followed by the tiny wooden caskets of her two children.

They were led in by the Reverend Helen Jobling who conducted the service in front of a large crowd of mourners.

During a 25-minute service the minister spoke warmly of the lives which were lost.

Ms Jobling said: "We are here to give thanks to God for three members of the family who were special - Jill, Henry and Chandler.

'Happy lad'

"Born just 18 months ago [Chandler] was a quiet little boy. He was discovering words and discovering his feet. He had just started walking.

"Henry, three years old, a lively happy little lad. He loved his gingerbread boy story book, and playing with his cars.

"Henry with a little stammer so you waited for the words - and they always came.

"Two lovely children and their mother Jill."

Ms Jobling told the congregation the story of Jill's early years in Middlesbrough.

She said: "This mother and her two children have met a tragic death.

"You have your own special thoughts and memories of them. They will help to sustain you and perhaps in time help to soften your grief."

"These last 10 days have been so hard for you. But you have come through it. You have shown courage.

Private ceremony

"It is still going to be difficult, you know that. But you will have the support of your family and friends.

"Vitality of the children among you will keep you looking forward and the love of God in Jesus will give you strength."

The three coffins, with matching yellows wreaths, were taken out to the hearse and on to Teesside Crematorium for a private family ceremony.

The funeral arrangements for PC Bluestone, who hanged himself after the killings, have not yet been released.

Mrs Bluestone, a senior manager at Basildon District Council in Essex, was found dead in the kitchen at their home at about 2230 BST.

Their son Henry was discovered at the bottom of the stairs.

Chandler was discovered in his cot with severe head injuries and died later at Darent Valley hospital in Dartford.

The couple's eldest children Jack, seven and six-year-old Jessica survived the attack.


'There will be no divorce - the only way out is death,' police officer warned wife before attack

By Terri Judd -

Wednesday, 7 November 2001

A police officer who bludgeoned his wife and two of their children to death had warned her on their wedding anniversary "there is no divorce the only way out is death".

Yesterday, the Kent coroner, Roger Hatch, recorded verdicts of suicide on Constable Karl Bluestone and unlawful killing on his wife, Jill, and sons Henry, aged three, and Chandler, 18 months.

The inquest heard the haunting testimony of one of his two surviving children, six-year-old Jessica, who fled from the house and told a neighbour: "Daddy banged my head on the wooden floor, I cannot get mummy out of my mind. She had blood coming out of her neck. I don't want daddy to kill mummy."

The first officers to arrive at the family home in Kent discovered Mrs Bluestone's body on the kitchen floor, 13 hammer wounds to the back of her head and an injury to the neck from the claw end of the weapon. The blood-covered hammer lay beside her.

The couple's three-year-old son, Henry in his pyjamas like the other children was found dead at the bottom of the hallway stairs with 10 wounds to his head. Injuries to his hands showed that he had tried to fend his father off. Chandler was lying in a cot in a bedroom. He had suffered six fatal blows to his forehead and died later in hospital. Jack, aged seven, was found in the foetal position on the bottom bunk in his room, injured but alive.

Moving into the garage at the back of the house, the police found Karl Bluestone, 36, hanging from a rope.

There were several marks on his arms, indicating that his wife put up a desperate fight for her life.

The inquest at Gravesend County Court, Kent, was told that Bluestone attacked his family on 28 August this year after his 31-year-old wife told him she was leaving and taking the children with her.

A "fun-loving professional" to his colleagues, Bluestone had been a violent husband, known to have had affairs with other women. He kicked Jill in the stomach when she was pregnant, once threatened her with a meat cleaver and smashed the back windscreen of her Mercedes on another occasion.

In June he had throttled his wife until she lost consciousness. She told a friend later that he said: "There is no divorce the only way out is death".

In the days leading up to the final, fatal attack, Bluestone had become increasingly irate, believing his wife was having an affair and recording her telephone calls.

Mrs Bluestone made it clear to her husband on 25 August that she was leaving, the inquest was told.

On the day of the murders PC Bluestone returned to their home in Gravesend after a drink with colleagues and began an argument by saying, "I heard about you today".

Pausing long enough to watch the ITV police drama The Bill, he resumed the row which turned violent.

Bluestone's next-door neighbour, Ernest Lane, told the hearing that a "terrified" looking Jessica had appeared at his door.

He said: "I saw a child knocking frantically on the glass door and saw that it was Jessica Bluestone from next door. She said: 'My daddy is hitting my mummy. Please call the police'."

The girl told paramedics: "Daddy smashed my head against the wooden floor. Mummy and Daddy had been rowing and he had hit her over the head and she had a hammer in her head."

She then said she had heard her brother Jack scream, and added: "He [Bluestone] hit mummy on the head and that is why mummy and daddy are asleep and will not wake up."

Detective Chief Inspector Colin Murray told the inquest: "The marriage became strained after Chandler's birth and later on she discovered [he was having] an affair at work and confronted the officer over the phone. She also suspected he spent Christmas with another woman."

Mrs Bluestone's sister-in-law, Caroline Skerry, said that when Jill discovered her husband's infidelity, she started an affair of her own. Bluestone spoke of moving the family to Basildon, but his wife, an accountant with the Essex County Council, dismissed the idea.

Det Ch Insp Murray said: "It is my belief, having killed his wife and two children, Karl then took his own life. The evidence suggests the rope was purchased earlier that same day and whilst this may have been for moving it's also possible that Karl was contemplating suicide."

The coroner said Bluestone had realised his marriage was finally over. "Whilst it cannot explain the tragedy, it perhaps gives an insight into Karl Bluestone's mind on 28 August," he said.

In a statement, Mrs Bluestone's brother, Peter Skerry, and her sister-in-law, Caroline, said: "Jill was a wonderful mother who lived for her children. Jill, Henry and Chandler will be sadly missed and our thoughts are with Jill's surviving children."


A police officer bludgeoned his wife and two of his children to death in a hammer attack, an inquest heard.

BBC News

November 6, 2001

PC Karl Bluestone carried out the killings after his wife told him she was leaving him and taking their children away.

PC Bluestone murdered his wife Jill, 31, and two of their children Henry, three, and Chandler, 18 months, at their Kent home.

The Bluestones' two other children, Jessica, six, and Jack, seven, survived the attack, on August 28 this year.

The court heard Mr and Mrs Bluestone had several violent fights in the past, including one in June this year, in which PC Bluestone throttled his wife until she became unconscious.

Mrs Bluestone told a friend afterwards that her husband had said "there is no divorce, the only way out is death".

On Tuesday, the inquest in Gravesend heard PC Bluestone, 36, became irate in the days leading up to the attack, believing Mrs Bluestone was having an affair with a work colleague.

The inquest was told, in a statement from Jessica, what happened to Mrs Bluestone.

Jessica ran from the family home after PC Bluestone banged her head against a wooden floor, while hitting Mrs Bluestone with the hammer.

Minutes later, Jessica told a neighbour: "I cannot get mummy out of my mind.

"She had blood coming out of her neck. I don't want daddy to kill mummy."

Henry, three, was found lying in a pool of blood at the bottom of the stairs and Chandler, 18 months was found dead in his cot.

Mrs Bluestone was found in the kitchen with the bloodstained hammer lying beside her.

After carrying out the attacks PC Bluestone went into the garage and hanged himself with a piece of rope.

In the weeks leading up to the killings, PC Bluestone increasingly believed his wife was having an affair and recorded her telephone calls on a mini-disc.

On 25 August Mrs Bluestone made it clear to her husband she was going to leave and that was the breaking point in their relationship, the inquest heard.

'Life in danger'

In a statement read out by Detective Chief Inspector Colin Murray, Mrs Bluestone had told a friend she felt increasingly in fear of her life.

"She thought he would try to kill her," the friend had said.

In earlier incidents, PC Bluestone punched Jill in the stomach while she was pregnant and in another threatened her with a meat cleaver.

In June 1999, PC Bluestone smashed the back windscreen of Mrs Bluestone's car and started throwing objects around a room, with a vase striking Jessica's head.

He was arrested and on the way to the police station took a quantity of pills.

Just two days before the killings, a woman saw the family having a heated row in a park.

On the day of the murders PC Bluestone came home from work after going for a drink with some colleagues and started having an argument with Jill.

'Head injuries'

The argument paused while PC Bluestone watched The Bill on television, but resumed shortly afterwards.

Ernest Lane, the Bluestones' neighbour, said that sometime during the incident Jessica banged on the door and "looked terrified".

He said: "I saw a child knocking frantically on the glass door and saw that it was Jessica Bluestone from next door. She looked terrified.

"She said 'My daddy is hitting my mummy. Please call the police'."

Coroner Roger Hatch recorded verdicts of unlawful killing for Mrs Bluestone, Henry and Chandler, with head injuries being the cause of death.

The verdict for PC Bluestone was one of suicide, with the cause of death as "suspension".



PC Karl Bluestone, 36.


The funeral of a mother and her two sons murdered by their policeman father.


The two youngest Bluestone children died.



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