Police are investigating a suspected double suicide by two parents said to be in ‘financial trouble’.
The couple, believed to have children aged five and seven, were found dead at their home in Billingshurst, West Sussex on Christmas Day morning by a concerned relative and a neighbour.
Residents living nearby said they seemed ‘completely normal and pleasant’ but were believed to be ‘in deep financial trouble’
Police outside the West Sussex home where the parents of two young children were found dead yesterday
A worried relative had gone to the couple’s semi-detached home shortly after 9am and saw the bodies through a window. The man was said to have been found hanged.
Neighbours said that it was understood that the man, 33, and woman, 30, had two children who were not present at the semi-detached house when police broke in.
It was thought the couple had made special arrangements for them to be looked after overnight.
A neighbour, who asked not want to be named, said: ‘I was the one who got in and found them. It’s been a real shock.’
Another neighbour added: ‘They were a very private couple but we would always speak to them over the fence when we saw them and we would sometimes wash the cars together. They had a couple of young children.
‘They were very nice people. We used to receive Christmas cards from them and my wife spoke to the wife over the fence on Christmas Eve. She said the children were staying with a relative.
A neighbour went to the house after being contacted by a concerned relative of the couple
‘When we saw all the police cars, we thought they were coming to our house at first and we were worried something had happened to one of our relatives.
‘I was born in that house in 1943 and moved next door with my wife in 1965 and I cannot remember anything as tragic as this in Groomsland Drive.
‘They always seemed like a happy couple, but you never really know do you? There were various rumours going around about them being in financial trouble.’
And another neighbour said: ‘I’d see the man in his front garden sometimes and he would wave.
‘She was a good mother, I would see her at the swings in the park with her kids. They were completely normal and pleasant.’
Police said that they were investigating the double death and stressed that they were not seeking anyone else in connection with the deaths.
Police sealed off the £150,000 house while initial forensic science inquiries were made and evidence was taken from the home in the hope of finding clues to the tragedy. Police declined to reveal whether notes had been found at the scene.
Outside the family’s three-bedroom home today, the couple’s white Kia 4×4 was on the drive and a police patrol car was stationed outside.
A police officer was tending to the family’s pet rabbits.
A report was to be prepared for the West Sussex coroner who will hold inquests into their deaths.
The police spokesman said: ‘Emergency services were called to a house in Groomsland Drive just after 9am on Christmas Day after concerns for a couple there.
‘A 33-year-old man and a woman were sadly found dead in the property. Officers are working to establish the circumstances of the death but are not looking for anyone else in connection with this incident.’
The couple’s bodies were removed by private ambulance and taken to the local hospital mortuary.
A South East Coast Ambulance Service spokesman confirmed that the 999 call was received shortly after 9am on Christmas Day morning.
He added: ‘We were called to a private address in Groomsland Drive in Billingshurst, West Sussex, along with police.
‘We sent an ambulance and three cars and the couple were confirmed deceased at the scene.’
He refused to comment on what injuries the couple had suffered and said: ‘We do not disclose those details when we are called to a private address.’
A spokesman for Sussex Police said that post-mortem examinations were due to be carried out on both bodies today to establish the exact cause of their deaths.
Source: Daily Mail