Couple found dead in Stowmarket home named locally as Richard and Sarah Pitkin
PUBLISHED: 13:32 27 February 2017 | UPDATED: 14:27 27 February 2017
Tributes have poured in for a well-known Stowmarket couple who were found dead at their home yesterday.
Husband and wife, Richard and Sarah Pitkin, were discovered in the Stowupland Street property shortly before 2pm.
Mr Pitkin was a well-known painter and decorator in the town and his wife was assistant manager at the St Elizabeth Hospice shop in Bury Street.
Rachel Backshall, director of marketing at St Elizabeth Hospice said staff at the charity were “shocked and saddened” to hear of her death.
She added: “Sarah was a well-loved member of the team and our thoughts and sincere condolences go out to her family and friends.
“Sarah was an energetic character, full of life and joy. She loved the hospice and loved working with the staff and volunteers. She had been with the hospice for four years and made a huge difference during that time. She was imaginative and creative and brought a real sense of fun to the shop.
“She will be sadly missed by us all.”
Paul Berryman, owner of the nearby Royal William pub, described Mr Pitkin as “a lovely guy”, adding: “He was a great craftsman and he did a lot of work for people locally.
“There was a lot of police activity with forensics vans outside on Sunday.
“I was outside in the garden having a cigarette when I heard them.
“He was a nice bloke, he was not a regular but he had been in a few times.”
Mr and Mrs Pitkin previously ran the Harlequin Tea Room in the town.
Suffolk police confirmed the deaths last night which they said were being treated as “unexplained”.
Early witness reports said there was a sound of gunshots, however police have now ruled this out.
“From our investigation to date, there is nothing to indicate that a firearm was involved in this incident or that a firearm was discharged in the area at the time,” said a spokeswoman.
A police car was still at the scene earlier this morning (Monday).
A spokesman for the constabulary said they were called at 1.45pm yesterday to a house in the street.
Stowmarket’s mayor Barry Humphreys described it as “a really sad situation.
“I knew Richard and Sarah and they were a really nice couple,” he said. “I don’t know the circumstances of what has happened, but it’s a big loss to the town.
“They will be sorely missed by everyone in the Stowmarket community.”
Carole Shaw, a neighbour and friend to Sarah and Richard Pitkin laid flowers in tribute outside their house.
Speaking to the EADT, she said: “I used to see her every morning in town working at the shop.
“They were such a great couple and they were good friends.
“I really can’t believe what has happened. It does not seem real when it is someone you know.
“I have been living here a year and a half and they have always been kind and welcoming to everyone.
“It is devastating, it truly is. I am devastated for their family.
“Whatever has happened, I hope they find peace now.”
Another neighbour, who did not wish to be named, said: “It is tragic, really tragic. They were a lovely couple.”
She said Mr Pitkin “worked incredibly hard” running his business.
“I have lived here 15 years and they arrived shortly after,” she added. “They had a go running the tea room but it didn’t last long.
“He was a decorator and he worked all over the area.
“It is so sad, she was lovely and worked in the local charity shop.”
A spokeswoman for the East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust said paramedics were called at 2.10pm.
The service sent a paramedic car and crew to the scene. She said they attempted to save the lives of the couple.