EXCLUSIVE Dad, 35, killed his toddler daughter, two, in ‘murder suicide’ on Father’s Day

A father killed his toddler daughter by driving into the path of a truck on Father’s Day – after the breakdown of his relationship with her mother.

Company manager Ashley Henry, 35, and little Oria, who turned two in April, died on their way home from a weekend away by the sea.

The tragedy was initially treated as an outright clash.

But on Tuesday afternoon, Lincolnshire Police said after ‘careful consideration’, detectives had launched a homicide investigation into the toddler’s death on Sunday.

Police are not looking for anyone else in connection with the double death and said the truck driver was not a suspect.

It is clear that the collision was recorded with a dashcam.

Oria’s mother Rachael Leader, who works in global sourcing for soft drink goliath PepsiCo, appeared on Channel 4’s dating show spin-off First Dates Hotel in 2020.

Rachael, Oria and Ashley Henry all pictured together before the tragedy unfolded this week

Little Oria's death is now being treated as a homicide after she died in a car accident days ago

Little Oria’s death is now being treated as a homicide after she died in a car accident days ago

The 32-year-old was today being comforted by her parents at their boarding house in the village of Broughton Astley in Leicestershire. Oria was her only child.

Miss Leader’s mother, Judith, 65, said the family was too upset to comment.

But on Facebook, Miss Leader reposted a police update confirming that the investigation was now a murder investigation, alongside the comment “my baby” and crying and broken heart emojis.

On Instagram, she captioned a photo of her smiling daughter: “(The) circumstances are being treated as murder/suicide.

‘My poor baby. You have been taken from me by an evil force. A sick man, a man I entrusted your life to only because it was taken away by him in such a horrific way.

Mother Rachael and Oria Henry pictured together before her father's murder of the young girl

Mother Rachael and Oria Henry pictured together before her father’s murder of the young girl

“Oria, I’m so sorry. I’m sorry I couldn’t protect you.

“My pain will be turned into a goal, I promise you. I love you sweetheart. See you in heaven, girl.’

A friend replied, “Horrible, how could anyone do this to an innocent child? It’s been on my mind all the time Rachael, can’t stop thinking about you all.’

Before the police announced they were treating Oria’s death as a homicide, Miss Leader told friends on the platform that the father and daughter had died in a car accident while ‘traveling back from Skegness’.

A source confirmed that Miss Leader and Mr Henry – a manager of a company that sells medicinal mushrooms, according to Companies House – had split, but could not confirm when.

His father, Paul Henry, wrote on Facebook Tuesday under a photo of his son and granddaughter, “I can’t believe my granddaughter prodigal will never be the same person again.”

The Henry family from Leicester declined to comment today.

An Anwick villager also said he had heard the pair had split up, adding: “The lorry swerved into an embankment to avoid the car, which headed straight for it on the side of the road with the truck.’

He said the truck was loaded with refrigerated chicken from a local processing plant. Lincolnshire Police called on witnesses to the collision to come forward, adding: ‘We have launched a homicide investigation following a fatal collision between a lorry and a car in Anwick.

Driver Ashley Henry, 35, and passenger Oria Henry, 2, from Leicester were driving down Main Road in a blue Nissan Quashqai when the incident occurred around 2.45pm on Sunday 18 June.

Both were pronounced dead at the scene. “Our investigation into the incident continues, but after careful consideration, we can confirm that we have opened a homicide investigation into the death of two-year-old Oria.

“We are not looking for anyone else in connection with this incident, but are unable to provide further details at this time.

“Our thoughts remain with the families of those killed in this collision and specialist officers are supporting them at this difficult time.”

Last night a friend said she believed Miss Leader and Mr. Henry broke up “some time ago.”

The friend said, “Rachael is such a beautiful, warm person.

“I don’t know how they got together, but it seemed like a bit of a whirlwind. They hadn’t been together in a while, possibly even before this time last year.

“Nobody can understand what drove Ashley to do this.”