The partner of EastEnders actress Sian Blake from Erith has been jailed for life for the "horrific" murders of her and the couple's two young sons.

Arthur Simpson-Kent, 49, will spend the rest of his life behind bars for killing Ms Blake, their eight-year-old son Zachary and four-year-old Amon.

Mr Justice Singh, sentencing Simpson-Kent at the Old Bailey, ordered that he should serve a 'whole life' prison term for his barbaric crimes.

The Killings

Simpson-Kent murdered the actress, 43, who was terminally ill with motor neurone disease, overnight on December 14.

The court had previously heard that Ms Blake's condition meant she would have been physically incapable of defending herself from a violent attack.

The judge said she planned to leave him and take the boys with her - they were set to start at a Greenwich school in April this year.

The three had been hit on the head before being stabbed in the neck or throat by Simpson Kent, who painted over bloodstains in their bungalow.

He wrapped and buried each of them in the back garden of their home in Pembroke Road.

Following the murders, Simpson-Kent sent texts from his dead partner's phone to cover his tracks including one to Ms Blake's sister Ava on December 16 saying she and the boys needed to “get away for a while”.

The killer hairdresser and cannabis dealer was visited by police at 4pm that day following reports from Ms Blake’s family that he was poisoning his partner and cutting her hair in order to hide his mistreatment of her.

The court heard how Simpson-Kent told officers Ms Blake had gone to visit a friend in Cambridge with the children.

Shortly after the police visit, Simpson-Kent vanished and fled to Accra, Ghana.

MORE: EastEnders actress Sian Blake 'planned to leave' partner who murdered her and two sons

The Police

The investigation was taken over by murder squad officers on January 3 as concern for the family's welfare deepened.

They searched their home using specially trained sniffer dogs which led officers to a secluded area of the back garden.

It was there that the remains of Ms Blake and her children were uncovered on January 5 despite "significant effort" to conceal them.

A post-mortem examination found they died from head and neck injuries.

In each attack at least two different weapons were used, but never recovered.

MORE: Full round-up and timeline as Arthur Simpson-Kent admits 'senseless' triple killing

Murder detectives travelled to Ghana following an international appeal and Simpson-Kent was subsequently arrested on January 9, then extradited on February 12 to the UK where he was charged with the murders.

The Old Bailey

Sentencing, Mr Justice Singh explained that due to the exceptional seriousness of the case early release provisions do not apply.

He said: "The manner in which the defendant killed his victims was truly horrific.

"Even though the defendant is adamant he was going to take his own life, I do not accept this contention.

"This is inconsistent with the actions taken after the murder in the following months."

As the impassive triple-killer looked on, the judge told the court: "Nothing I say can begin to compensate for [the family's] tragic loss but I offer them all my sincere sympathies.

"In my judgment this was indeed a case where each murder involved a substantial degree of premeditation or planning.

"At the very least that must be true of the murder of each of the two little boys individually, and in turn after the defendant had already killed Sian Blake.

"Further, and in any event, there were serious aggravating features of this case.

"Each of the victims was particularly vulnerable because of age or disability. There was an abuse of position of trust. There was concealment of the bodies. He made efforts to remove evidence of his crimes at the house, including repainting.

"He sought to lay a false trail by using Sian Blake's mobile phone. He lied to the police and others about the whereabouts of the family."

Psychological profile

Dr Joseph Philip, a consultant forensic psychiatrist evaluated Simpson-Kent.

He wrote, “There is no evidence [Simpson-Kent] was depressed for example, either before or after the killings, and he has not provided any convincing explanation as to why he did not kill himself as planned despite the long period of time following the killings and his subsequent arrest.”

He concluded Simpson-Kent had a narcissistic personality, “which affect about one per cent of the population, [which] include a grandiose sense of self-importance, requiring excessive admiration, has a sense of entitlement, is interpersonally exploitative, puts his needs over those of others, lacks empathy and shows arrogant, haughty behaviours or attitudes.”

Simpson-Kent told Dr Philip Joseph that during the killings "something just snapped in me", adding: "I felt as if I had just been pushed off a diving board and was falling.

"I grabbed hold of a small axe that was kept on a ledge in the kitchen.

"Sian's head was bent low down and she was bent over looking at the floor.

"I approached her from the side and hit her at the back of the head as hard as I could and she fell unconscious at the first blow.

"After that I hit her repeatedly on the head.

"My mind was blank and I was focusing on doing and not thinking. It was like I was there but not there."

However, Mr Justice Singh rejected Simpson-Kent's account, and his claim that he was depressed and had planned to also kill himself before bottling it.

The family

In a statement read outside after the sentencing today (October 5), Ms Blake's family said "no sentence will bring them back", calling Simpson-Kent a "monster" who attacked them in a place "where they should have felt safe and secure".

"Arthur has robbed us of our dreams and aspirations, everything we wished for Sian and our precious boys," they said, "We carry scars.

"He stood in the dock with a smirk on his face and showed no remorse.

"There will be a judgement day."

Ms Blake played Frankie Pierre in 56 episodes of EastEnders between 1996 and 1997.

She went on to have a successful career as a voice-over artist and sign language interpreter.