SMILING for the camera, they looked like any other happy young family.

Stephanie Bellinger puts a protective arm out to her baby girl Lili Beau as she enjoys a celebratory meal alongside the youngster’s father, her fiancé Anthony Marsh.

But hidden behind the grinning facade of the dad-of-two was an evil killer who was to take the lives of his partner and daughter just a week later.

Today Marsh is expected to be handed a life sentence for the murders, after a jury of seven men and five women unanimously found him guilty after ten hours of deliberations.

Marsh, 22, carried out the frenzied and brutal murders as Stephanie and Lili slept in his bed, claiming that voices in his head made him do it.

He told police how he was emotionless and filled with adrenaline as he knifed the woman he professed to love – his “soulmate” – 33 times around her head and chest, hearing her scream and try to fight him off, before leaving the blade in her.

He had also killed Lili by stabbing the ten-month-old in the head, having also made attempts to strangle, suffocate and crush the tot to death by standing on her with two feet.

The scene he left behind, having fled the house in Myrtle Avenue, Totton, was one more fitting for a horror film – with Marsh’s bloodied handprint left chillingly on the bedroom wall and headboard.

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And it was a harrowing sight that he left his toddler son Charlie to face alone for more than 30 hours, having locked him inside, until the gruesome scene was discovered by their family who say they have images they will carry forever.

Charlie is now the reason Stephanie and Lili’s family find the strength to get out of bed every day.

Stephanie’s mum Liz, dad Martin and sister Ruth describe him as their “saviour” who is a typical bubbly toddler with “a wonderful sense of humour”.

But they also fear that he may never forget how he last saw his mummy and baby sister when he woke up on Friday, February 26, this year.

Liz said: “I go to sleep wondering if he has remembered what he saw during that time. It’s very painful.

“I often wondered that one day Marsh might take Charlie with him when he went on one of his disappearing acts, but never did I think he could kill.

“Why did a person like this have to do this to them?”

Ruth, who was with Liz when they discovered the bodies of Stephanie and Lili, said: “Its even more painful when you look at him – although he’s a little boy who is full of the joys, you know the story behind and that is so sad.

“I have to think that when he woke up that morning, with everywhere quiet and in darkness, he would have thought it was night time – a very long night – and hopefully gone back to his bed.

“I had to pick him up right from that room when we got inside Stephanie’s house. That will stay with me forever. That kind of image never leaves you.”

Talking about the impact of losing her sister and niece, Ruth said: “You sort of wake up every morning and almost immediately you get that sinking feeling. It’s like groundhog day. It’s the same every morning and it’s very difficult.

“She was a wonderful auntie, wonderful sister and a wonderful daughter. We will never get over this. This is not something you get closure from. It will be with us every day.”

Martin, who had celebrated his birthday with his daughter, grandchildren and Marsh just a week before Stephanie and Lili died, told how it was a joyous occasion and they were making plans to get together again at Easter.

He said: “Lili was coming on leaps and bounds – she was going from a baby to a little girl just waiting to take those first steps when she died.

“Charlie is who is important now – he is the biggest victim. We know it won’t be long before he starts asking questions, before he is big enough to understand, before someone says something in a playground.

Lifelong impact “These killings carried out by his father and the impact on Charlie is lifelong and incalculable.”

Born in south-east London, Stephanie moved to Hampshire with her family when she was aged just one.

Martin said: “I will always remember that day because it was the day she took her first steps. Apart from that first year, she spent her life in Totton. She was really an outdoor girl, a bundle of energy.”

Stephanie attended Squirrels pre-school before starting at Holy Family in Millbrook and later St Anne’s.

Martin said: “She would have to travel there by bus and she hated that. It was something I even joked about in the eulogy at her funeral. Even on her final journey to the church she bumped her way along the road in the hearse.”

With GCSEs under her belt, Stephanie attended Southampton City College, where she studied travel and tourism, and landed a job at the Bartley Lodge Hotel, where she met Marsh.

Liz, who used to be a chambermaid at the hotel, said: “Everybody loved her because she was always smiling and friendly. She used to work on reception there and people always would say she was the only one to welcome them with her big smile.”

Stephanie left the hotel after the birth of Charlie “to focus on being a mummy”.

Ruth, a mum-of-four, said: “She was just an excellent mother – she loved her children dearly. She was simply overjoyed when she had a little girl too, the perfect little family.

“She was my help, always, with my children during emergencies – always there to pick them up if I was late. We were close – I was the one to take her to hospital both times when she went into labour.”

Like any family would, they have asked themselves if there was something peculiar they should have noticed about Marsh in the four years he had been in Stephanie’s life.

But despite their own dislike for him, they knew that Stephanie clearly loved him.

Ruth said: “I didn’t like him, I always thought he was a bit odd, but there were no warning signs at all. All their friends and those on the outside thought they were a typical family.

“He never engaged with me, he never made eye contact.

“When I saw Stephanie with him you could see she was always slightly tense, like when you’re looking after a badly behaved child. The time I spent with just Stephanie and the children was the best.”

Martin said: “I didn’t like Marsh, although I couldn’t explain why or what it was. I just couldn’t warm to him, but it was something I couldn’t pinpoint.

“Stephanie wouldn’t open up to me. But she clearly loved him and was supportive of him. As a father you can’t stop that, it had to be her choice.”

Liz said: “People ask me how I am able to stand up on my feet and I tell them my body is weak. You get up some mornings like you’re drunk, when you have not had a drink, but you have to function, for each other and for my grandson.”

Speaking of her feelings for Marsh, Liz added: “He has taken everything from me – everything.

“I hope to God he rots in hell for what he has done. I would like my voice to be the one in his head, the one to haunt him for the rest of his life for what he did to my Stephanie and Lili.”

n You can donate to Charlie’s trust fund by visiting the Nationwide bank and quoting C P Marsh, bank account 0302/140 872 881.