A MUM feared to have stabbed her three young children to death before hurling herself from a balcony yesterday was involved in a bitter custody fight over the youngsters.
Horrified neighbours watched as sobbing Theresa Riggi – who is embroiled in a divorce battle with husband Pasquale – plummeted 40ft from the second floor of the terraced house in Edinburgh.
Last night it emerged cops had been searching for the mum, who went on the run with the children – twin brothers Gianluca and Augustino, eight, and their five-year-old sister Cecilia – from her home in Skene, Aberdeenshire.
A Lothian and Borders cop source said: ‘They had been reported missing from the north east and there was cause for concern.
‘It has been a very high-profile investigation by Grampian Police.
‘The children were at the centre of a bitter custody battle. This is a tragic set of circumstances.’
Officers were last night waiting to quiz Riggi who is seriously injured.
It is thought she had turned on the gas and tried to torch the property in the capital – but a worried local raised the alarm after smelling the fumes.
When emergency teams arrived at the scene, they found the 46-year-old mum lying badly hurt outside the terraced house.
Fire crews raced inside to tackle the small blaze – then discovered a sickening scene of horror.
Gianluca, Augustino and sister Cecilia were found lying dead in the blood-soaked living room after being repeatedly stabbed.
A source said: ‘It was a horrific scene.
‘The kids were lying on the floor with stab wounds and there was blood all over the floor.