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Churches respond in Didcot to triple stabbing

29 May 2015


Tributes: flowers lie at the entrance to the school where Derin was a pupil

Tributes: flowers lie at the entrance to the school where Derin was a pupil

CHURCHES in Didcot acted swiftly after three residents, Jan Jordon, aged 48, her six-year-old daughter, Derin, and her partner, Phil Howard, aged 44, were found dead from stab wounds at their home in Vicarage Road, early on Saturday evening.

St Peter's, Didcot, near by, was open for prayer throughout Sunday and Monday, and there were plans to open it again yesterday, and tomorrow.

The churches' response was an ecumenical one, the Priest-in-Charge of St Peter's, the Revd Hannah Reynolds, said. "Volunteers from other congregations helped us to keep the church open. There were always five or six people present to console those affected by the tragedy."

John Myers, the head teacher at All Saints' C of E Primary School, where Derin was a pupil, opened the building - officially closed for half-term - on Monday, so that staff, pupils, and their parents could share their distress at the tragedy.

Mr Myers said the loss of Derin was "devastating". He described her as "a beautiful, gentle, and smiley child". A book of condolence would be opened, he said.

During Monday's opening, pupils lit candles, and a Baptist minister, the Revd Tim O'Brien, led prayers.

On Tuesday, the Bishop of Dorchester, the Rt Revd Colin Fletcher, and Oxford diocese's director of education, Anne Davey, both sent messages of sympathy and support to the family and friends of the victims, and to All Saints' School. "My thoughts and prayers are with those caught up in this terrible tragedy," Bishop Fletcher said.

A police hunt for the murder suspect, Jed Allen, aged 21, who is Ms Jordon's son and Derin's half-brother, ended on Monday when his body was found in a wooded area of Oxford where he worked as a groundsman at the university. It is understood that he was known to police, and had posted pictures of himself posing with knives on the internet.

The triple stabbing is the second murder to affect Didcot in 18 months. In 2013, the body of a teenage girl, Jayden Parkinson, killed by her boyfriend, was found buried in his uncle's grave in All Saints' churchyard.

"People here are still affected by that tragedy, and are now trying to come to terms with another," Miss Reynolds said.

Plans were being considered for an ecumenical service next month to remember the victims of both tragedies, she said.

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