A FORMER colleague of the ex-soldier who killed his two children in a Hampshire village has spoken of his shock and distress.

New Forest farrier Alex Chalmers said he and other ex-members of the Household Cavalry might have been able to help Michael Pedersen if he had told them about his troubles.

Mr Pedersen was one of the troopers who survived an IRA nail bomb attack in Hyde Park, London, in the summer of 1982.

Three days ago he stabbed his two children, seven-year-old Ben and six-year-old Freya, before turning the knife on himself.

The 51-year-old former army sergeant had recently split up with his second wife, Erica, 43. Shortly after leaving the family home he told friends: “It's the worst day of my life.”

Mr Chalmers, of Bashley, near New Milton, said he last saw Mr Pederson in July at an event to mark the 30th anniversary of the bombing.

“He was the life and soul and seemed so very happy,” he said.

Asked about the tragic events that unfolded at Newton Stacey, near Andover, on Sunday Mr Chalmers added: “I'm just shocked and saddened. There are two young children there who had their lives ahead of them.

“Some of us are angry at what he did.

“We're one big family - we talk to one another and help one other. We may have been able to help him in some way.”

Members of the Household Cavalry were on their way to a Changing the Guard ceremony when the remotely-controlled device exploded, killing four soldiers and seven horses.

Mr Pedersen's horse Sefton was seriously injured in the blast but survived and became a symbol of the struggle against the IRA.

After leaving the army in 1986 Mr Pedersen, of Chertsey, Surrey, set up a transport company with his wife. But the couple parted a month ago after a row at a party.

The bodies of Mr Pedersen and the couple's two children were found beside his car at an isolated beauty spot.