The parents of murdered primary school teacher Marelle Sturrock have said they are ‘devastated following the deaths of our daughter, Marelle, and soon to be grandson, Jayden Sturrock’.
Police launched a murder investigation after the body of Ms Sturrock, 35, was found at her home in Jura Street, Glasgow, on Tuesday, April 25.
She was 29 weeks pregnant and her unborn baby did not survive.
The body of her partner David Yates, who police had been seeking in connection with her death, was recovered on Thursday after searches of Mugdock reservoir, north of Glasgow.
In a statement released through Police Scotland, Ms Sturrock’s parents Colin and Lorna Sturrock said: ‘We are devastated following the deaths of our daughter, Marelle, and soon to be grandson, Jayden Sturrock.
Marelle Sturrock, 35, was found dead two days before her partner David Yates in what police believe was a murder-suicide
‘Marelle was the happiest person you could ever meet and was always looking to help others the best she could.
‘Marelle and her partner doted on each other and this incident has come as a total shock to all who knew her.
‘We would like to thank family and friends, colleagues at Sandwood Primary School, Police Scotland officers, both in the Highlands and Glasgow, for their efforts and comforting support following our tragic event.
‘Our family would like everyone, including the press, to respect our privacy at this very sad and difficult time.’
On Sunday, it was revealed a police watchdog has launched a probe into Ms Sturrock’s death of a heavily pregnant teacher killed by her partner in a suspected murder-suicide.
The discovery of her body prompted a police search for her fiancé David Yates, 36, but his body was recovered from a reservoir within Mugdock Country Park, East Dunbartonshire, two days later.
Police are now understood to be facing an investigation over the incident, The Daily Record reports.
A Police Scotland spokesperson said: ‘As this is being investigated by the Police Investigations and Review Commissioner (PIRC) we are unable to comment further.’
Marelle Sturrock, 35, was 29 weeks pregnant when she was found dead in the couple’s home on Jura Street, Glasgow
Police Scotland officers outside the couple’s home in Jura Street, Glasgow, on Thursday
Further details of the PIRC probe have not been revealed.
Meanwhile, a source told the Daily Record: ‘It is thought to have been pre-planned because David brought the dog to his mum’s house the night before and told her he had plans the next day.
‘It is not being considered as an accident – it was a brutal, frenzied attack.’
Following the discovery of her body on Tuesday, Yates’ white Seat Ateca was found at Mugdock Country Park, some eight miles north of the couple’s property, sparking a major search.
He was last seen near Mugdock Country Park, just outside the city in East Dunbartonshire, and was wanted in connection with her murder. It is thought that Mr Yates did not leave the park after he travelled there.
Helicopter search teams could be seen flying above the park and police divers were involved, with large sections of the reservoir cordoned off with police tape.
His death is not being treated as suspicious.
Police maintain there is no information to suggest anyone else is involved with Ms Sturrock’s death, though an investigation remains ongoing.
Deputy Superintendent Nicola Kilblane previously refused to comment on the couple’s relationship or if there had been any prior police involvement.
Friends say Ms Sturrock was ‘really excited’ about becoming a mother and was ‘brilliant with kids’.
But friends of Yates said he had struggled with his mental health in the past.
One said: ‘David had a bit of a breakdown before his dad died last year. He was in a band for a few years and wanted to make a go of that and he was still doing his theatre shows and things. Nobody can get their heads around what has happened here.’
She had worked as a teacher at Sandwood Primary School for more than six years and led its choirs. She was also a keen actress outside the school.
Fiona Donnelly, the headteacher of Sandwood Primary School, said: ‘Marelle had been a much-loved member of our school community since her probationary year more than six years ago and has taught many year groups throughout her time at the school.
Marelle Sturrock, 35, pictured with her fiance David Yates, 36
‘We all miss her so much. She was a lovely, kind, diligent and considerate person who loved and made time for everyone.
‘Marelle used her artistic talents across the school and was our music champion who has been a key player in the success of our school choirs; with one of her classes going to see her on stage at The King’s in one of her many acting roles outside of school.
‘We are a school community in mourning and devastated by the tragic news of her death.’
Sarah Sturrock, Marelle’s sister shared the family’s heartbreak, writing: ‘There are no words how utterly devastating this is for us as a family & how we are going to cope without her.
‘How this could of happened to her I will never get my head around this.’
It is understood the couple got engaged in 2015.
According to neighbours, the couple would sometimes visit Mugdock Country Park to walk their dog.
Neighbour Alex Collie said his wife had spotted Ms Sturrock’s worried colleagues at the house on Tuesday morning.
He told the Daily Record: ‘My wife walked past when they were at the house.
‘They were knocking on the door and seemed worried. I think concern was raised when she didn’t show up for work.
Police pictured searching Mugdock Country park, Milngavie, Scotland, prior to the discovery of Mr Yates
‘A few hours later we saw the police here. We got the shock of our life when we heard what had happened to Marelle. It’s tragic. I can’t believe it.’
Pupils at Sandwood Primary School are being supported after the tragedy.
Dept Supt Kilbane, of Police Scotland, said in a statement: ‘Our thoughts are with Marelle’s family and friends, along with everyone affected by this tragedy.
‘We are providing her family with specialist support at this incredibly difficult time.’