Star’s secret family tragedy revealed
The sad and shocking family history of England cricketer Ben Stokes has been revealed.
The Sun has reported that Stokes had a half-brother and sister who were both murdered in New Zealand by his mother’s former partner in 1988 — three years before Stokes’ birth.
Tracey, eight, and Andrew, four, were shot in Christchurch by their father Richard Dunn before he turned the gun on himself.
It was reported that Dunn flew into a jealous rage after Stokes’ mother Deb started a new relationship with Gerard Stokes.
Ben Stokes' half-siblings Tracey and Andrew's final resting place.Source:The Sun
Stokes has never spoken publicly about his family’s tragedy, with a source close to the cricketer telling The Sun his birth gave his mother “something to live for”.
“Ben was born at a time of terrible tragedy. Deb was enduring every parents’ worst possible nightmare and his arrival gave her something to live for,” the source told The Sun.
“It’s incredible that he’s achieved so much as a cricketer and made her so proud.”
Ben Stokes has never spoken about it publicly.Source:AP
Jacqui Dunn, another daughter of Richard from a previous relationship, revealed how a “traumatised” Deb had kicked the coffin at the killer’s funeral.
“Dad worshipped his kids and became obsessed with the idea he wouldn’t be allowed to see them — he just lost his mind,” she recalled.
Ben Stokes' murdered half-sister Tracey.Source:The Sun
Coverage at the time describes a “double murder and suicide” in Christchurch after the bodies of the two children and their father were discovered.
The children’s gravestones describe them as the “much loved and loving children of Deborah”.
Stokes was born and raised in New Zealand before moving to the UK aged 12 to settle in Cumbria where his father was offered a job as a rugby coach.
Ben Stokes is pictured with his mother, Deb Stokes. Photo / FacebookSource:Facebook
His international debut came in 2011 after playing school and club cricket but Stokes’ reputation ran into trouble in 2017 when he faced a possible prison sentence over his role in a late-night brawl outside a Bristol nightclub.
The incident also saw him dropped as England vice-captain and he missed the 2017-18 Ashes series in Australia.
Having recently redeemed himself and his career, Stokes played a starring role as England won the Cricket World Cup for the first time earlier this year.
Last month he played one of England’s greatest innings ever to pull off a stunning comeback victory over Australia in the third Ashes Test.
Ben Stokes became his mum’s inspiration.Source:Getty Images
Jacqui Dunn — the killer’s daughter from a previous marriage — has now spoken publicly about the tragedy for the first time.
The office worker, now 49, was 18 at the time of the murders and says she can remember the “terrible shock” of hearing the news, The Sun reports.
She told The Sun: “I couldn’t believe Dad would do such a thing. It was just horrible.
“Deb was so angry and traumatised she kicked the coffin at his funeral and I’ve never seen or heard from her since.
“And I had absolutely no idea she’s had another son who became an England cricket star.
“Dad worshipped his kids and became obsessed with the idea he wouldn’t be allowed to see them — he just lost his mind.
“I was working in a shoe shop at the time and my dad came looking for me the day before the shootings, but I was on my lunch break.
“I never saw him again and he took those lovely kids with him.”
Friends said Deb was “destroyed by grief” when she learned that jobless Dunn, 39, had killed their children at his flat in Christchurch, New Zealand.
He drove to her home after shooting them with a rifle, but she had left to go to work. He then torched the building.
Alerted to the fire, armed cops raced to his apartment and Dunn retreated inside.
Ten minutes later, they heard two shots and found him dead. They then discovered the children’s bodies.
The family source added: “Dick took it badly when he and Deb split up but he was such a popular, easygoing guy — really laid back.
“No one would ever have thought him capable of such evil. People who knew him well realised he could only have done such an appalling thing when the balance of his mind was disturbed. But there can never be any excuse for taking two young lives.
“Andrew and Tracey were absolutely lovely kids — both beautiful and so full of life.”