THE SOUTHAMPTON dad who murdered his two children before hanging himself had previously threatened to commit suicide, it has been revealed.

Dave Cass had told his partner Kerry Hughes that he was going to take his own life, according to her best friend.

Student Emma Timberlake said Kerry, 20, was a good mother to Ellie, three, and 12-month-old Isobel.

Miss Timberlake, 20, added: ''Ellie's laugh made everyone smile, you would start laughing because it was so cute.

''I was on the phone to Kerry on Friday and I could hear Izzy and Ellie laughing and having a play fight.

''And then Ellie started tickling her mother and I was on the phone thinking how cute that was.

''Ellie was a gorgeous little girl and Kerry used to call her the ginger ninja.

''Izzy was so beautiful when she was born and she had just started to become the gorgeous little girl that Ellie was.

''I cannot believe that anybody could have done this, but I know that there have been problems with Kerry and Dave throughout all their relationship.''

Miss Timberlake said she had introduced Mr Cass to Miss Hughes and that she had once been Mr Cass's girlfriend.

She said he was ''mentally unstable'' and had lied to her and Miss Hughes about having large sums of money in the bank and owning houses, when in fact he was living in a caravan.

''I spoke to Kerry on Friday and she told me that Dave had said he was going to kill himself. But he didn't say anything about harming the children.

''But when we were together and we broke up he has said the same thing to me, so I said to her 'Don't listen to him, darling', but then this happened.''

''She still loved him and she wanted to make a go of it for the sake of the children, but there had always been problems.''

Miss Timberlake said she had warned Miss Hughes that Mr Cass would be trouble for her and that they had been evicted from their rented accommodation in Hiltingbury, a few months ago, because they could not afford the rent.

Miss Timberlake claimed that Mr Cass had taken all the furniture when the couple had split up, forcing Miss Hughes to borrow a mattress to sleep on from a neighbour.

She said she had been friends with Miss Hughes since they both attended the same classes at St Anne's Convent School for Girls in Southampton and that after school they had lived together.

''Kerry was just an absolutely brilliant mother who really loved her children. She was shaky at first about being a mum and she used to ring me up and talk about it, but she was an absolutely brilliant mother.''