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Flat deaths mother Theresa Riggi faces prosecution

  • 8-6-2010

_48640578_riggi.gifAn American woman whose two sons and daughter were found dead in Edinburgh faces prosecution over their deaths.

Theresa Riggi is in hospital after falling from the balcony of the property where twins Austin and Luke, eight, and Cecilia, five, were found.

Police said a petition warrant had been granted in connection with the deaths and proceedings were now active.

Personal correspondence from the 46-year-old seen by the BBC, said she treasured being with her children.

In the message written last year, Mrs Riggi said her children would "always come first".

She added: "I treasure every moment spent with them and marvel at their development - I wouldn't miss it for the world."

California-born Mrs Riggi, who had moved to Edinburgh from Aberdeen in July, was injured falling from the balcony of the Slateford Road property where the children were found. She is reported to be in a serious but stable condition at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary.

The children were discovered on Wednesday afternoon after reports of a gas explosion at the property.

'Beautiful children'

Lothian and Borders Police said post-mortem examinations have been carried out and a report has been submitted to the fiscal.

The results have not been released, but it is understood that the children did not die as a result of the explosion or a small fire in the flat.

The children's father Pasquale Riggi earlier told of the family's "immense and tragic loss".

In a short statement issued through the police, Mr Riggi, 46, said: "Our family is struggling to come to terms with the immense and tragic loss of three beautiful children.

_48636162_children_new304.jpg"Thanks to all who have offered such great comfort and support.

"We request that the media respect our privacy at this difficult time."

The youngsters were at the centre of a custody battle involving their US-born parents.

Mrs Riggi failed to appear before a divorce hearing at the Court of Session in Edinburgh on Tuesday.

It was the second time the family had gone missing in the past month.

Police said Mrs Riggi and the children were traced to the Edinburgh address on 21 July after they were reported missing from their home in the Aberdeen area.

When Mrs Riggi failed to appear at court on Tuesday, the judge ordered the court's Messengers at Arms to search for her.

_48640921_riggi.gifSocial services were instructed to supervise the children once they were found.

Edinburgh City Council said it was contacted by lawyers on Wednesday regarding the recent court proceedings.

It was about the same time that the authority was told about the incident at Slateford Road.

Lothian and Borders Police said its investigation into the deaths was progressing to a "significant degree".

Mrs Riggi, a violinist who also taught music to beginners, said she ran a video production company in Denver, Colorado before moving to Europe.

Her husband, originally from Colorado, has worked for oil firm Shell since 1987 and has been in Aberdeen for a number of years.

The couple moved to the UK in 1997 living in Corton, near Lowestoft on the Suffolk/Norfolk border, and in Zevenhuizen in the Netherlands.

They were married in Mrs Riggi's hometown of Bakersfield, California, in September 1989, but the relationship had deteriorated in recent years.

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