EastEnders star planned to leave partner who murdered her and two young sons

A former EastEnders actress who was battered and stabbed to death along with her two young children by her partner was planning to take them and leave him, a court has heard.

Arthur Simpson Kent killed Sian Blake, 43, and their sons, Zachary, eight, and four-year-old Amon, before burying their bodies in the garden of their home.

The Old Bailey was told that Ms Blake, the family's main breadwinner, had recently been diagnosed with terminal motor neurone disease and that, along with their "unhealthy" relationship, led her to consider selling their home and moving back in with her close family.

The court heard that Ms Blake's condition had weakened her arms and hands to the extent that she would not have been able to fight off an attacker.

Cannabis dealer Simpson Kent, 49, who fled to his native Ghana before being extradited back to the UK, faces a possible whole-life sentence after admitting the triple killing in Erith, south east London.

Mark Heywood QC, prosecuting, told the court that Ms Blake was planning to return to live with her family "because of her condition and because of the state of their relationship".

Mr Heywood said: "The evidence suggests, and this much is not disputed, that, on the night of December 14 2015, the defendant killed each of them in turn with heavy, deliberate, repeated blows with a blunt instrument not since recovered, and then by cutting and stabbing them with a bladed weapon in a way that ensured their deaths.

"He then covered his crimes by moving, wrapping and burying each of them, cleaning and partially painting his home.

"He misled friends, family and the police, among others, as to what he had done and where his partner and children had gone."

Members of Ms Blake's family wept in court as the case was opened in front of a packed public gallery.

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