Explosion family speaks out

AN argument which got out of hand has led to the Weston family of a couple who died in an explosion to speak to exclusively to the Weston & Somerset Mercury.

AN argument which 'got out of hand' has led to the Weston family of a couple who died in an explosion to speak to exclusively to the Weston & Somerset Mercury.

Family members have told the Mercury of their grief and have said the 'matter should never have got so far as it did'.

Wilfred and Wendy Bastin, who were married for 15 years, died at their flat at The Georgian House in St Mary Street, Axbridge, after a blast at around 3pm on Saturday.

Post mortem results have shown that 47-year-old Wendy was stabbed to death and that Wilfred died after inhaling smoke and hot gases.

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Wilf, as he was known to his friends, a 60-year-old carpenter, leaves 11 children and 18 grandchildren. He was a keen skittler and played for Worle Wanderers in the Weston District League.

It has emerged there was 'a family argument which got out of hand' shortly before the couple's deaths.

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Speaking exclusively to the Weston & Somerset Mercury, two of Wilf's sons, Mark, aged 36, and his 38-year-old brother, John, who both live in Weston, say this was a family matter and should never have gone so far as it did."

Wilf appeared at Bridgwater Magistrates Court two days before the explosion in connection with a domestic violence incident, and had appeared a week earlier charged with assaulting one of his sons.

They said: "Wendy went to court on the Thursday before they died to retract a statement she had made earlier to police. She went to show her support for her husband and to welcome Wilf back into the family home."

When they were asked by the Mercury if they knew what had happened on that fateful day, they replied they knew no more than anyone else.

The brothers told the Mercury the couple will be sorely missed and have also spoken of their anger at some media reports which claimed Wilf was an alcoholic.

Mark said: "We have been through an alarming set of events in the past few days and the latest media reports suggest something that was not there.

"Saying my father was an alcoholic when all he did was to go to the pub on a Friday night is not helping anyone in our family to grieve."

His 38-year-old brother, John, said: "He was a very proud and devoted son, father, husband and grandfather. He was also a very skilled carpenter.

"My father was someone who would go out of his way to help any friends or family members. This is how we want to remember him."

Mark added: "Now is a very emotional time for the all the family. There is disbelief and what has happened is a hell of a shock to the system.

"Losing Dad and Wendy so suddenly is very hard for us to come to terms with."

Initial reports suggested the couple had been caught in a gas explosion, but the theory was quickly ruled out by police who now suspect an accelerant, possibly petrol, was involved. Forensic investigations are still ongoing.

Police have said they are not looking for anyone else in connection with the incident.

West Somerset coroner Michael Rose said inquests will take place once identification of the bodies has been confirmed.

Tributes to the couple have been flooding in to the Weston & Somerset Mercury.

The town mayor, Mike Taylor, says he was walking his dog when he saw emergency vehicles heading into Axbridge.

He said: "Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends and those involved or affected by this incident.

"Local people rallied around to support and provide comfort to those who were there and that reflects highly on the community spirit in Axbridge.

"I know the people who helped out do not want their names mentioned in the press but it should be highlighted and I thank them for doing a wonderful job of looking after those affected. The emergency services all did a brilliant job.

"I went down later in the day to speak to police and see if anyone needed accommodation or counselling but by that time the officers had everything under control."

Cheddar parish councillor Gillian Davies said: "I was bell ringing at St John the Baptist Church in The Square on Sunday when other bell ringers started talking about the incident.

"We thought about not ringing at all, as a mark of respect, but then decided to ring the Turner Bell, which has a very low pitch. We tolled it continuously for 20 minutes.

"The explosion is obviously what everyone is talking about at the moment and what happened is very sad."

To leave a tribute to the family log on to www.thewestonmercury.co.uk

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