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Hart murders - cold-hearted controller planned to kill entire Moulton family

The man who terrorised his family with years of psychological abuse had planned to murder his wife and three children.

Cold-hearted killer Lance Hart shot dead his wife Claire (50) and daughter Charlotte (19) in a Spalding car park on July 19, 2016, before ending his own life with the same gun.

A few days earlier, Luke and Ryan Hart had liberated their mother and sister from the family home at Moulton and they were to start a new life away from the "terrorist" who had controlled almost every aspect of their lives.

Innocent victims: Charlotte and Claire Hart who were shot and killed by Lance Hart.
Innocent victims: Charlotte and Claire Hart who were shot and killed by Lance Hart.

Luke, now 29, and Ryan, now 27, were working away at that time but came back to Spalding to move their mum and sister into a rented home.

Speaking on Thursday, when an important review of the case was published, the brothers said police had discovered that their father had been planning for months to kill the whole family.

Ryan said: "Now it's clear to us we are almost lucky to be alive and I think, had we not left the house, he would have killed all of us in our sleep most likely."

Ryan and Luke Hart with the Domestic Homicide Review report that they hope will save lives.
Ryan and Luke Hart with the Domestic Homicide Review report that they hope will save lives.

The Safer Lincolnshire Partnership has published a Domestic Homicide Review so that lessons can be learned from the tragedy that claimed two innocent lives.

In the review, independent author Dr Russell Wate says Claire, Luke, Ryan and Charlotte had been suffering "intense domestic abuse for many years" but didn't know that because there was no physical violence.

In a joint statement on Thursday, Luke and Ryan explained: "We believed domestic abuse was about violence, so we looked for increasing violence to indicate the danger we were in, yet the violence came all at once."

It was at Spalding Police Station, in the days after the double murder, that Luke and Ryan spotted a poster on a form of domestic abuse called coercive control - and they realised it described their lives.

Their father, referred to in the report as "the perpetrator", exercised suffocating and terrifying control over the family.

When Luke was a young child, Lance Hart deliberately fed him peanuts - knowing he had a nut allergy - and sent him into a life-threatening allergic reaction.

Lance Hart used that incident to control Claire and as an excuse to move homes, so Claire would be further away from the support network of her own family.

The controller was at work from the outset.

In the review, Dr Wate says: "It is suggested when they first met, he took Claire on holiday and throwing away her contraceptive pills, he informed her that 'you will be having my child'."

The family was bullied, harassed and oppressed daily.

Lance Hart kept the family short of money, using that as a weapon to control them, while spending on gambling and giving thousands in one instance to someone he barely knew on the internet.

He restricted his wife's working hours, would follow her to work and lock up her personal belongings in a safe.

Dr Wate said: "The behaviours on the part of the perpetrator had been taking place for nearly 30 years.

"His despotic and omnipotent perspective on life, coupled with his paranoia, led to his total domination of the household but because of the lack of violence, the family felt powerless against him and endured his behaviour."

Dr Wate has no doubt that the Hart siblings were able to endure their lives because their mother gave them so much love.

"The fact that their mother gave the children so much love and support probably negated much of the perpetrator's behaviour and they became immune to it," says Dr Wate. "There is no doubt in the review author's mind that this is what happened to Luke, Ryan and Charlotte as they were growing up."

Luke and Ryan's first interview regarding the review was published on www.spaldingtoday.co.uk on Thursday.


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