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Boyfriend of slain ex-Eastenders star "must be brought to justice"

Ava (left) and Pansy Blake, sister and mother of murdered actress Sian Blake
Ava (left) and Pansy Blake, sister and mother of murdered actress Sian Blake

The sister of ex-EastEnders actress Sian Blake has called for her boyfriend Arthur Simpson-Kent to face justice amid fears he has fled the country.

Simpson-Kent is believed to have fled to Ghana after Miss Blake and her sons, Zachary, eight, and Amon, four, disappeared on December 13.

Arthur Simpson-Kent

Police found what are feared to be their bodies in the garden of the family home in Erith, Kent, earlier this week.

Today, Miss Blake's sister Ava said Simpson-Kent should be "brought back to justice".

Murder squad detectives are urgently trying to find Simpson-Kent.

Speaking at Scotland Yard's headquarters, Miss Blake said: "Unfortunately I believe Arthur was responsible.

Sian Blake 

"I want him to face justice and explain why. It's my 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.

"I want him to be brought back to justice. He'll have to answer to the courts of this country and to God eventually.

"I don't know what is going through his mind."

Scotland Yard said they were aware of the photo but have refused to confirm reports that Simpson-Kent, 48, has fled to Africa.

"Whether or not he is in the country is one line of inquiry," a spokesman said.

Ms Blake, 43, had motor neurone disease - a fatal, rapidly progressing illness which affects the brain and spinal cord - and was reportedly looking "very frail" before she vanished.

She was last seen with her sons in Waltham Forest, east London on December 13 and officers spoke to Simpson-Kent three days later at the family home in Pembroke Road, Erith.

The case was taken over by homicide detectives on Monday, before the three unidentified bodies were found the next day at Erith address.

Miss Blake, 51, said her sister had told their mother, Pansy, that she wanted to get out of her relationship "a long time ago" and she had planned to move back to the family home over the Christmas period.

She said: "In the last year I have to admit my sister was not the vivacious, happy person she once was. She was a lot more quiet.

"She said she would come back, sort of Christmas week, and after Christmas they would arrange about selling the property she lived in.

"In our opinion the relationship had already come to an end but she hadn't quite made that break or that decision to leave Arthur."

Miss Blake said she suspected texts claiming to be from her sister after she disappeared had not been written by her because she did not use "text lingo" and the messages were "poor grammatically" and contained "bad spelling".

The texts claimed Ms Blake was going away "for a few weeks", then it became "a few months", Miss Blake said.

Scotland Yard has faced questions over why it took police nearly three weeks to find what are feared to be the bodies of Ms Blake and her two sons.

The force has referred its handling of the case to the watchdog, the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC).

But Ms Blake's sister said she did not have any criticism of the police investigation. "I'm satisfied with what the police have done and what they are doing now," she said.

Breaking down in tears, she added: "I have lost my sister and my nephews. I'm not going to see them grow up.

"I'm going to miss Sian. She was my sister and someone I loved. I was proud of her as an actress. I just wanted the best for her and my nephews."

Ms Blake's big break came when she was introduced as soul singer Frankie in EastEnders in June 1996 by series producer Jane Harris.

She was in the BBC soap for 56 episodes, reportedly quitting because of hostility from viewers towards her manipulative character.

The performer, who later worked as a sign language tutor, also appeared in episodes of The Bill, Casualty, Doctors and Skins, and was the voice of Yugiri in 2015 video game Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward.

It is understood a relative of Ms Blake contacted the NSPCC on December 16 expressing concerns about domestic violence and the information was passed on to the Metropolitan Police and Bexley Council in London on the same day.