Murder suspect's mother breaks down during plea to fugitive son

The mother of a missing man suspected of murdering his girlfriend and baby daughter collapsed in tears as she made an appeal for him to come forward.

Anthony Marsh, 21, has not been seen since Saturday, when the bodies of Stephanie Bellinger and eight-month-old Lily were found at their home in Totton, near Southampton, Hampshire.

Police have urged him to come forward but have warned the public he is dangerous and should not be approached.

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Miss Bellinger, 24, was found at the red-brick semi-detached house just before 9am by a relative. It is thought she and her child were stabbed to death.

Wendy Marsh broke down as she tried to speak at a Press conference at Southampton Central Police Station. She was unable to complete her statement, which was read by a police officer.

Detective Constable John Woodward addressed Mr Marsh on behalf of his mother, who was visibly trembling, saying: "Anthony, if you are watching or if you read or hear this please understand that all your family are very concerned about you.

"They are here to support you in any way they can. It is pointless to run away or hide.

"Whatever has happened, you must now hand yourself into the police or phone them and tell them where you are.

"Please Anthony, for the sake of all the family."

Mrs Marsh had to be helped out of the room by police officers after the brief statement was made as she could barely stand.

The public has been warned not to approach "dangerous" Marsh, who is thought to be armed with a knife.

Detective Chief Inspector Colin Mathews made a direct appeal for Marsh to come forward.

He said: "We have identified 21-year-old Anthony Marsh as a suspect for the murders and it is paramount that we trace Mr Marsh as soon as possible."

He added: "I would repeat that we consider Mr Marsh to be a dangerous man who should not be approached by the public. We have reason to believe that he may be in possession of a knife."

He described the case as a "tragedy" and directly appealed to Marsh to come forward.

A police spokesman added that Miss Bellinger's family were distraught, saying: "They're absolutely torn apart."

Officers said Marsh had been known to sleep rough in churches.

Mr Mathews added: "Mr Marsh has also been known to take long walks within the New Forest National Park and had a favourite spot he liked to visit.

"It is between Lyndhurst and Bournemouth and known locally as the Devil's Dyke near Burley.

"If you are a dog walker, a horse rider or someone else who has visited the New Forest during the past two days, have you seen someone matching Mr Marsh's description?"

A family friend of Marsh said he was prescribed medication for depression.

The man, who did not wish to be named, said: "Somewhere down the line, someone has failed because they knew he was on medication. He was on tablets, but he never took them."

The man, whose children were at school with Marsh, said he last saw him just before Christmas with his mother Wendy near the Myrtle Avenue home he shared with Miss Bellinger.

He said: "I saw them in the car and said hello. He seemed in good spirits."

The friend, who said Marsh's father was a former police detective, said of the tragedy: "I just feel numb really. It's such a sad thing to happen."

Police confirmed the couple also had a two-year-old son called Charlie.

Search teams looked in drains and bushes around the couple's property for a murder weapon. Forensics officers remained at the house.

Marsh, a former British Gas customs relations adviser, is white, 6ft 2in tall and slim, with a tattoo on his left forearm.