Monday, 4.50pm: The Peterborough family of a six-year-old boy who was killed in the US school shooting on Friday (14 December) have spoken of their grief today.
Dylan Hockley, who died in the mass killing at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, moved to the US in 2011 with his parents Ian and Nicole Hockley and older brother Jake (8) from Eastleigh, Hampshire.
His aunt Judith Hockley, who lives in Werrington, told the Peterborough Telegraph that her family have been left devastated by the tragedy.
Mrs Hockley (45) said: “The whole family are devastated. Everyone is grieving for Dylan.
“My husband and daughter have flown out to be with them. They don’t have return tickets so will stay as long as they can.
“The last few days have been very traumatic for us all.
“I still can’t believe what has happened.
“There is such a big void in our family now.”
Mrs Hockley said that she and her husband Kevin (40) had heard that “something was up” on Friday evening.
The couple then waited into the early hours of Saturday morning before the news came through that Dylan had been killed.
Mrs Hockley said that Dylan was a happy child who loved going to school and enjoyed martial arts.
She said: “Dylan was a typical six-year-old boy, he was confident and happy and loved his family.
“He had been to Peterborough a number of times before leaving for America and whenever I saw him he was smiling.
“He was enjoying life in America and had made many new friends there.
“He enjoyed going to school and had really settled in well.
“His parents and older brother Jake were also enjoying their new life in Newtown, it sounded like such a nice place.
“When I last spoke to them they were looking forward to spending Christmas together.”
Dylan’s father Ian (42) was born and bred in Peterborough before going to the University of East Anglia to study finance where he met his American wife Nicole (42), who was studying there as part of an exchange programme with a college in Connecticut.
The couple decided to move to America for a better quality of life and so they could be closer to Nicole Hockley’s parenst.
Mr Hockley has worked in financial planning at IBM for more than a decade.
Mrs Hockley, who runs a small marketing firm and worked for Norwich Union in the UK, described Newtown as a “wonderful place to live and we’re looking forward to being here for a long, long time.”
Lying about 60 miles north of New York in the state of Connecticut, leafy Newtown has proved so popular with Britons who have moved to the US that there is even a shop, UK Gourmet, dedicated to selling British produce.
The horror among the town’s 27,000 residents is magnified because Newtown is regarded as an idyllic place to live, once making the top ten in a poll of the best places to live in America and recently being profiled in the property section of the New York Times.