An old soldier murders his son and daughter before committing suicide, and a very old soldier fights off a murderous attack in Central London.
In July 1982, a terrorist gang tried to murder Michael Pedersen. He was one of a number of soldiers present in London's Hyde Park when the Provisional IRA exploded a nail bomb killing 4 soldiers and 7 horses at the changing of the guard. Trooper Pedersen was riding Sefton, a horse that became world famous by recovering from 34 life threatening wounds.
On Sunday, the body of Michael Pedersen along with those of his seven year old son Ben and six year old daughter Freya was found in Michael's car at a secluded spot near the Andover home of Mr Pedersen's father. He had killed them both before taking his own life by stabbing himself repeatedly in the chest.
The 51 year old appears to have been embroiled in a marital break up, and this is what led to his dreadful acts.
It remains to be seen what effect if any the traumas of an army career three decades ago had on this sad individual, but another crime involving another old soldier is the subject of far more serious scrutiny from this angle. In 1984, Lt-Gen Kuldeep Singh Brar led a raid on the Golden Temple of Amritsar, the holiest shrine of Sikhism, an act akin to an assault on the Grand Mosque at Mecca.
The heavy loss of life on both sides - Sikh militants and soldiers - was only a foretaste of what was to come; the massacre triggered riots that left thousands dead and culminated in the assassination of Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi on October 31, less than three weeks after the Provisional IRA came within a whisker of assassinating not only British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher but her entire Cabinet in the notorious Brighton hotel bombing outrage.
The former soldier was walking in Central London with his wife when four bearded men wearing black clothes and black jackets approached them. One restrained his wife while two others attempted to push him to the ground as the fourth drew a dagger. But for his military training and the arrival of several passers-by, he would have been murdered. The police are said to be keeping an open mind regarding the potentially murderous attack, but presumably not that open.
The old soldier, who already lives under police protection, was discharged from hospital Monday morning.