"nothing could possibly justify violence"
Saju Chelavalel, aged 52, of Northamptonshire, was jailed for life after strangling his wife and two young children to death.
Northampton Crown Court heard he killed NHS nurse Anju Asok while he was drunk in December 2022, in the mistaken belief that she had cheated on him.
Chelavalel – originally from Kerala – then had more than four hours “to reflect on whether to kill his children” before using a dressing gown cord to kill six-year-old son Jeeva Saju and their daughter Janvi Saju, aged four.
Anju’s body was found on the floor of a bedroom at the flat in Petherton Court, Kettering, Northamptonshire.
The children’s bodies were found next to each other on a double bed in a different room.
Police broke the glass in a patio door to gain access to the property, where Chelavalel left instructions for his own and his family’s bodies to be cremated in India.
Bodycam footage showed officers issuing repeated warnings for Chelavalel to drop a knife, which he was holding to his throat.
Chelavalel urged police to shoot him.
He was then tasered before being arrested.
Passing sentence, High Court judge Mr Justice Pepperall told Chelavalel that his actions had been brutal and “extraordinarily selfish”.
He said both children would have been “terrified and deeply traumatised” after hearing their mother’s murder.
The judge told Chelavalel that both children could have been brought up by other relatives.
The judge said: “Fuelled by alcohol, wallowing in self-pity, engulfed in your resentment at your wife’s perceived infidelity, you instead chose to snuff out their young and precious lives.
“Even if you had been right in your suspicions, let me make clear that nothing could possibly justify violence, let alone the brutal murders of your family.
“I should make plain that the police did indeed investigate your claim (of an affair) and found no evidence whatsoever that your wife was involved with another man.
“Not only was her supposed infidelity a figment of your imagination but the police investigation revealed your hypocrisy in that it was you, and not your wife, who had been searching dating websites in the days leading up to these offences.
“Your attack upon your wife was recorded.
“While you were squeezing the life out of your wife, your young children can be heard crying in the background for their mummy.
“Having listened to that harrowing recording, I cannot be sure that they were eye-witnesses to their mother’s murder but it is clear that they heard what was going on and knew that she was being hurt by you.”
Evidence showed that within minutes of murdering his wife at about 10 pm on December 14, Chelavalel decided that his children must also die.
The judge continued: “No psychiatric evidence is put before me to explain any disordered thinking that led you to that extraordinarily selfish and callous conclusion.
“At some point after 2:30 am, you then strangled both children.”
Chelavalel was jailed for life and must serve a minimum of 40 years.
Outside the court building, Detective Inspector Simon Barnes said the children went to Kettering Park Infant Academy.
He said: “The staff at the school described the children as kind, caring, gentle, playful, polite and smiley. They are much missed.
“How do you explain to children as young as four that the friends they were playing with only days before are no longer with us?
“You shouldn’t have to. No one should.
“As an adult, detective and father, I cannot comprehend how Saju Chelavalel could do this and don’t think I ever will.
“There is no amount of time behind bars that will ever be enough for what he did. His primary role as a husband and a father was to protect his family from harm.”