The partner of actress Sian Blake has pleaded guilty to murdering her and their two children in London.
Arthur Simpson-Kent, who fled to Ghana after the murders, confessed to killing the former EastEnders actress and her two boys, eight-year-old Zachary and his four-year-old brother Amon.
Appearing at the Old Bailey via video link, the 49-year-old hairdresser entered his guilty plea before being remanded in custody at Belmarsh prison. A sentencing hearing is due to start in October.
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"Outside court, Ms Blake's sister Ava said the family were 'really relieved'," the BBC reports.
Blake, 43, starred in the soap opera during the 1990s and had been suffering from motor neurone disease when she was murdered.
The bodies were found buried in shallow graves in the couple's garden in southeast London in January. A post-mortem examination revealed that they died of head and neck injuries.
An international manhunt was launched after Simpson-Kent went missing, with Ghanaian authorities finally apprehending him in the coastal town of Butre.
He was extradited back to the UK in February and arrested on arrival at Heathrow Airport.
The Metropolitan Police has referred the case to the Independent Police Complaints Commission over its handling of the investigation.
Sian Blake and sons died from head and neck injuries
Three bodies found in a London garden on Tuesday have been formally identified as former EastEnders actress Sian Blake and her two children.
Post-mortem examinations have provisionally concluded that all three died as a result of head and neck injuries.
Scotland Yard has said it is treating the deaths as a triple murder and is searching for Blake's partner, Arthur Simpson-Kent.
The bodies were dug up from the family's garden in Erith, south-east London, three weeks after the actress was last seen by her relatives.
ITV News says it has obtained a photograph of Simpson-Kent arriving at Kotoka International Airport in Accra, Ghana, on 19 December, three days after he was questioned by police over Blake's disappearance. He apparently used a Ghanaian passport to travel from Glasgow to Amsterdam and then on to Ghana.
"Police are aware of reports in the media that Arthur Simpson-Kent has travelled abroad. This continues to be one line of investigation and for operational reasons we are not prepared to discuss this further at this stage," said Scotland Yard.
The actress's sister Ava yesterday said she was convinced Simpson-Kent was responsible for the deaths of Blake and her son Zachary, eight, and Amon, four.
"Unfortunately, I believe Arthur was responsible… I want him to face justice and explain why," she said. "It's my two nephews more than anything. My brother is angry. My cousins are angry. They are angry about Sian but the boys have devastated us. We have lost a generation. We can never replace them."
The Metropolitan Police has referred itself to the Independent Police Complaints Commission over its handling of the investigation. "An initial review has highlighted some potential issues regarding the handling and grading of the missing persons investigation," said the Met.
Bodies found in garden of missing Eastenders actor
Police are searching for the boyfriend of missing actor Sian Blake after three bodies were found in the garden of their home in south-east London yesterday. The former EastEnders star and her two sons, Zachary, eight, and Amon, four, have been missing since 13 December.
The discovery of the bodies has prompted the launch of a murder investigation.
"Sadly, as part of a thorough forensic search we are carrying out at the family's home in Erith, we recovered three bodies from the garden of the property," said Det Supt Paul Monk, the Metropolitan Police's homicide and major crime command.
"As yet, we have not formally identified the bodies but this is, of course, a significant development and Sian's family have been informed," Monk said. "This continues to be a fast-moving investigation."
A post-mortem will be carried out later today.
Police have called for anyone who has seen Blake's boyfriend, Arthur Simpson-Kent, to contact them urgently, said the BBC. He has been missing since 16 December, when he was interviewed by police.
According to The Sun, the search for Simpson-Kent, the father of the two boys, has turned into an international manhunt, with the newspaper claiming he has fled to Ghana.
"He made his way there, via Glasgow and Amsterdam, shortly before Christmas," a source was reported as saying. "Interpol have been informed and there is an alert out to find him."
Police have refused to comment on the claims.
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