"Big Chris and Little Chris" were found side by side in bed

7:30am Friday 20th August 2010

By Juliette Astrup

POLICE discovered the bodies of a father and his six-year-old son tucked up side by side at their home in Poole.

Chris Hall, 53, and his son, also called Chris, were found dead at a house in Queen's Road, Parkstone.

No arrests have been made and detectives are not looking for anyone else in connection with the deaths. Mr Hall is believed to have given his son, who was a diabetic, an overdose, then overdosed himself.

Dorset Police received a call from a woman worried about their welfare at 4.50pm on Wednesday. Officers and paramedics raced to the scene - but it was too late to save the pair.

The road was closed for a short while, and the house was cordoned off from about 5.30pm - and remained so yesterday as officers continued to investigate.

The stunned community, dominated by young families is struggling to come to terms with what has happened, which appears to have echoes of the tragedy at Fordingbridge, where father Andrew Case killed his wife, two daughters and himself less than a month ago.

Several floral tributes were laid at the scene yesterday. Neighbours said they regularly saw Chris walking his three dogs, or with his son, a pupil of Courthill School, in nearby Alexandra Park. The pair were known to friends and neighbours as Big Chris and Little Chris.

Those that knew them described Mr Hall as a "lovely man" and doting father who "adored his son."

But he was known to have been going through an acrimonious separation from his partner of ten years, Rachel Edwards, who is now thought to be known as Rachel Wild, and was facing a custody battle for his son, who lived with him.

Neighbours also told of financial difficulties and the failure of his handyman business Handy Muscle, after his former partner moved out of the home they shared in spring this year. He didn't have a driving licence, so had relied on her to drive him to jobs.

One neighbour, who remembered little Chris playing on the trampoline with the girl next door every evening, said she had only met his father once two or three months ago.

She told the Echo: "He said it wasn't a good time to meet him as his partner had just left him and he'd got financial problems as well. He was obviously devastated.

She added: "That was three weeks after it happened. I'm a complete stranger to him so it must have hit him really hard for him to tell me that."

Another close friend said Mr Hall had seemed "really low" when she saw him at the weekend.

"He said he couldn't believe what was happening," she said.

Neighbour Fred Cummings said he believed Chris's relationship with Rachel had broken down.

Mr Hall was a big man, and a regular at Branksome gym DW Fitness, which he visited almost daily.

Another mum and neighbour called him "a big gentle giant" adding: "He was a nice friendly guy, always chatting, who adored his son.

"My husband knew him better. They used to go to the gym together. Recently he'd been up there most days where he's not been working."

She added: "It's just dreadfully sad. I don't know what else to say. We're really shocked. We didn't believe it until this morning.

"It's just so sad he felt that was his only option."

Dog walker Gerry Thomas said: "We are just shocked. I didn't think he was capable of doing something like that, it is terrible."

Formal identification has yet to take place. The next of kin have been informed. The causes of death are yet to be determined - post mortem examinations were due to take place late yesterday.

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