DETECTIVES were tonight poised to make an arrest over the deaths of three children at a flat in Edinburgh following the results of post mortem.
Examinations by pathologists confirmed the fears of police that the triple deaths were “suspicious” leading to a petition warrant being granted.
Eight year old twins Gianluca and Augustino Riggi and five year-old sister Cecilia were found dead in a flat at Slateford Road in Edinburgh on Wednesday afternoon after fire-fighters attended calls of a gas explosion.
The children’s mother Theresa Riggi, who had been involved in a custody row with husband Pasquale, was found badly hurt outside the property having apparently leaped from a second floor balcony.
She was taken to the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh for treatment and yesterday ruled not fit for questioning by doctors.
Detectives remained nearby anxious to question the 46 year old over the tragedy in order to establish exactly what happened.
Mrs Riggi’s husband Pasquale was tonight understood to still be in Edinburgh after police escorted him from the family home in Aberdeen on Thursday.
Officers said he was heartbroken over the tragedy and was providing “invaluable detail” about the family’s background.
In an emotional statement, the Shell oil worker yesterday described his children as “beautiful.”
He said: “Our family is struggling to come to terms with the immense and tragic loss of three beautiful children.
“Thanks to all who have offered such great comfort and support.
“We request that the media respect our privacy at this difficult time.”
Meanwhile a political row continue to gather pace over just who was to blame for a 24-hour delay of a court order for social workers to find the children.
Edinburgh’s Court of Session was warned on Tuesday that Mrs Riggi had to be found as a matter of urgency after she failed to show for a divorce hearing.
But the message failed to reach the City of Edinburgh Council until 3pm on Wednesday – when Mrs Riggi is reported to have plunged from the flat balcony.
Lothian and Borders Police – who had attended the address previously as part of a missing persons inquiry – said they too only found out after the deaths as it was still a ‘civil’ matter.
Labour’s Community Safety spokesman James Kelly said: “This is a tragic event and one that has shocked Scotland.
“The police will need time to complete their work but then there will need to be a full investigation into the events surrounding this case.
“Our thoughts are with the family and friends of the children at this time.”
And John Lamont MSP, the Conservatives’ shadow cabinet secretary for justice, said: “This is an unimaginably horrific case, one which has understandably distressed a great number of people.
“In particular, our hearts go out to the father of these poor children.
“As my colleague David McLetchie said yesterday, people will want to know why there was a 24 hour delay in communicating the terms of Lady Clarke’s court order to the Social Work Department of Edinburgh Council.
“Her clear view was that the welfare of the Riggi children required intervention by social workers.
“We need an investigation into these circumstances, and to know who was responsible for communicating the terms of this court order.
“It is important to stress that this is not about locating a scapegoat.
“But a hugely tragic event has taken place and we need to find out exactly what happened.”
It was Mr Riggi’s solicitor, David Jack, who warned the Court of Session in Edinburgh on Tuesday that the children were at risk and Judge Lady Clark issued a an order calling for action to ensure their well being.
Floral tributes were mounting up at the scene of the mystery, with cards, teddy bears and hand-written messages reflecting a sense of shock among Edinburgh locals.
A police command unit was on guard at the scene and the road leading to flat 166 Slateford Road remained taped off.