Mum-of-two Sally Stokes was held hostage by her husband David who had already killed their two children before turning the knife on himself
A lottery winner killed himself and his two young sons after his wife discovered he was blowing cash on prostitutes, an inquest heard.
David Stokes stabbed himself to death with a kitchen knife after holding his wife hostage during a five-hour stand-off with police.
Mum-of-two Sally Stokes also suspected her electrician husband had used a date rape drug on her.
Firearms officers discovered the bodies of their sons Adam, 11, and five-year-old Matthew, holding hands in bed together.
The hearing was told Stokes had previously won £40,000 on the lottery and spent the winnings on shares and a new car.
He had been married to Sally, a pub assistant manager, since 2011 but their relationship deteriorated.
They separated three months before the killings but remained on good terms for the sake of their sons.
The tragedy unfolded on the night of November 1, 2016, at the family’s semi-detached home in Hinckley, Leicestershire.
Stokes, 43, snapped after Sally confronted him earlier in the day over emails showing he was using prostitutes and had researched ‘date rape’ drugs.
The electrician killed his two sons in the family home while she was meeting his relatives to discuss her concerns with them.
When she returned to the house later that night he attacked her with a rolling pin and tried to smother her with a pillow.
Sally gave a chilling account of the stand-off with police on the opening day of the inquest in Loughborough.
She revealed how her husband calmly asked if she wanted a cup of tea before attacking her as she got changed upstairs.
“I felt him hit me over the back of the head,” she said. “I fell on the bed. He put a pillow over my head and tried to suffocate me.
“I wriggled and was screaming for Adam because I thought he was the only person who could help me.
“I ended up by the side of the bed. He was standing there with a rolling pin. He looked evil. I thought at that moment I was going to die.”
Stokes told his wife their sons were “safe” but with someone who would harm them if he did not send coded text messages.
He ordered her to put her engagement and wedding rings back on and tried to force her to put cable ties around her wrists and ankles.
Sally said: “I refused. I went into survival mode. I knew if I did that I was going to die.”
She briefly escaped the house by hitting Stokes with the rolling pin and opening a rear patio door but he slammed her head into a brick wall.
“When I was outside I was screaming, saying his name, I just hoped someone would hear and realise it was us,” she said.
“He dragged me back into the house, he was saying ‘I can’t believe you hit me’.
“He was saying it was all my fault. The fact is he was the one who was sleeping with prostitutes.”
A neighbour had heard Sally’s screams and alerted police, who arrived at the scene shortly after 9pm.
Stokes had locked the doors and refused to let officers in, leading to the five-hour stand-off.
Sally told the hearing how negotiators repeatedly spoke to her husband over the phone in a bid to bring the siege to an end.
After telling police he was armed with a gun, Stokes calmly led his wife upstairs and knifed her in the back.
She said: “I felt a bump in my back, then I felt warmth. I put my hand there and realised I had been stabbed.
“I looked at him and said his name. The look on his face was like satisfaction, as if he had kind of won. I will never, ever forget that.”
Badly-injured Sally fled the house at around 2am through the front door and into the arms of police.
Armed officers then stormed the property and found Stokes lying in his bed with a kitchen knife in his chest.
Colleagues then found the bodies of the couple’s two tragic sons holding hands under a duvet in Matthew’s bedroom.
Sally spent four days in hospital with head injuries and a stab wound to her back which caused internal bleeding and a punctured lung.
She was told the day after the tragedy by police that her two sons and estranged husband had died.
Police found a suicide note penned by Stokes in the garden shed in which he said he was “sorry for what I have done”.
He said he had fallen in love with his wife again but it had “all come crashing down, it had to end”.
Stokes added: “I love Adam and Matthew and we will all be together again soon.
“Sal, I’m so sorry for all the things I’ve done and hurt you. But this last week you have had me completely and totally in love with you.
“You pushed too much. If you had left it, we could have been happy forever.”
In her evidence Sally said her husband had a “temper” but had never laid his hands on her.
“David was a calm person but he could flip,” she said. “I used to say I had three kids, he would have tantrums like a child.
“He had a temper, he would throw things. But he never harmed me or the boys.
“David won the lottery and then spent it himself. He bought a new car and had been doing shares with his brothers.
“We talked about the lottery win, about getting married. But then he bought a new car without asking me.
“I remember asking how much we had left. He didn’t answer me. I wasn’t allowed to know about our finances.”
The inquest continues.