THE dad of two boys found strangled to death alongside their mum says they were "full of joy" before their lives were cruelly cut short.
Nadja De Jager, 47, and sons Alexander, nine, and Maximus, seven, were discovered in Belvedere, South East London, on March 9.
A post-mortem revealed the boys' provisional cause of death was ligature compression to the neck.
Nadja, a property company boss, is thought to have hanged herself in a suspected murder-suicide and was identified through dental records.
Two months on from the tragedy, Herman De Jager, 36, says it was a "privilege" to be the boys' dad.
Speaking to MyLondon, he revealed "intelligent" Alex loved Lego and science while younger brother Max dreamed of being a footballer and was Man United mad.
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Paying tribute to Alex, Herman said: "He had a really good sense of humour and he was always making jokes and getting everyone laughing.
"There was never a dull moment."
Reflecting on the life of "caring" Max, his dad added: "He was also very brave and very protective of Alex even though he was the younger brother.
"There were a couple of older boys picking on Alex and Max walked right between them and told them, ‘You two leave my brother alone or I’m gonna tell my father’. At the time I think he was only six."
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Herman said the "amazing" boys were "always playing together" and loved making YouTube videos.
Heart-breaking clips of the youngsters showed them at home just months before their deaths.
The pair build a playhouse on decking during one hard-to-watch YouTube video.
Herman took a number of clips off YouTube following his sons' tragic deaths but has since uploaded them again.
Police rushed to the family's 1940s three-bed terraced home on Mayfield Road following concerns for welfare.
Detective Inspector Oliver Stride, of the Met Police's specialist crime command, told the post-mortem hearing in March how both boys were found in an upstairs bedroom of the property.
He added: “Maximus was on the bed while Alexander was lying on the floor next to the bed.
“The provisional cause of death for both of them was given as ligature compression to the neck pending further investigation.
“Nadja’s provisional cause of death was given as suspension."
After discovering the bodies, the Met said they were not seeking anyone else in connection with the incident.
Herman was not at home at the time and was said to be living at a different address.
The deaths shocked Belvedere Infant and Junior School which "model pupils" Alex and Max attended.
Paying tribute, a spokesperson said: “Alex and Max were truly wonderful members of our school community and we will remember them with great fondness and love.
“They were loving and caring boys who had a real hunger to learn."
Meanwhile neighbours of the family told The Sun they were completely shocked such a tragedy could unfold on their quaint street.
One resident told The Sun they would see Nadja taking her boys to school.
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Meanwhile Christopher Babutulde, 68, who lived two doors down from the family, said at the time: "We’re such a close knit community who really care for each other."
You’re Not Alone
EVERY 90 minutes in the UK a life is lost to suicide.
It doesn't discriminate, touching the lives of people in every corner of society – from the homeless and unemployed to builders and doctors, reality stars and footballers.
It's the biggest killer of people under the age of 35, more deadly than cancer and car crashes.
And men are three times more likely to take their own life than women.
Yet it's rarely spoken of, a taboo that threatens to continue its deadly rampage unless we all stop and take notice, now.
That is why The Sun launched the You're Not Alone campaign.
The aim is that by sharing practical advice, raising awareness and breaking down the barriers people face when talking about their mental health, we can all do our bit to help save lives.
Let's all vow to ask for help when we need it, and listen out for others… You're Not Alone.
If you, or anyone you know, needs help dealing with mental health problems, the following organisations provide support:
- CALM, www.thecalmzone.net, 0800 585 858
- Heads Together, www.headstogether.org.uk
- Mind, www.mind.org.uk, 0300 123 3393
- Papyrus, www.papyrus-uk.org, 0800 068 41 41
- Samaritans, www.samaritans.org, 116 123
- Movember, www.uk.movember.com
- Anxiety UK www.anxietyuk.org.uk, 03444 775 774 Monday-Friday 9.30am-10pm, Saturday/Sunday 10am-8pm
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