OAP couple 'may have had suicide pact'

MYSTERY surrounds the deaths of an elderly couple who died within 24 hours of each other after possibly making a suicide pact.Police were called Harry and Dora Pawsey's home in Fitzgilbert Road, Colchester, and found the woman, aged 92, dead, and her husband, 93, unconscious.

By Juliette Maxam

MYSTERY surrounds the deaths of an elderly couple who died within 24 hours of each other after possibly making a suicide pact.

Police were called Harry and Dora Pawsey's home in Fitzgilbert Road, Colchester, and found the woman, aged 92, dead, and her husband, 93, unconscious. He died 24 hours later in hospital having never regained consciousness. A post mortem examination on his wife was inconclusive.

Yesterday Detective Inspector Roy Clark, of Colchester police, said there were no suspicious circumstances surrounding their deaths and no other people are being sought in connection with them.


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"This is a very sad case and I don't think we will ever find out what happened," he said.

The couple were known to be in ill health. Mrs Pawsey, who was partially sighted, suffered such bad back pain she could barely walk and needed medication.

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Yesterday shocked neighbours speculated that the couple, who had been married for about 50 years, had made a suicide pact.

They suggested Mr Pawsey might have felt unable to cope with his wife's illness while in bad health himself, or that neither could bear the thought of outliving each other.

Next-door neighbour Nikki McGowan, who used to wave to them each time she drove in or out of her driveway, spoke of her shock when she saw police and paramedics outside the house on Wednesday morning.

"I opened the door and said: 'What's going on?' A policeman came and told me Dora had passed away and Harry had been taken to hospital and they'd found some tablets. It was quite strange.

"They were really nice. They just seemed like a nice old couple. They kept saying to bring Elle (her 18-month-old daughter) round. She'd stand there and laugh at Harry."

Ms McGowan added: "It's sad they've gone, but in a way they've gone together. They lived to a good old age. They're going to be together. That's the main thing.

"I don't know if it was a pact or they had their own way."

Another neighbour, Pat Staines, said: "It's sad in one way that they've come to the end of life and this is how it's happened. On the other hand, they were 90-plus, if life had got difficult, that's not such a bad thing.

"If after so many years together perhaps the thought of being separated - perhaps he couldn't look after her anymore - was too much."

A post mortem examination carried out on Mrs Pawsey was inconclusive. Further toxicology tests will be conducted. There will also be a post mortem examination on Mr Pawsey.

There were no signs of violence and no suicide notes. A file has been passed to the coroner and an inquest will be held at a later date.

The couple, who married in their 40s, had no children. Although they had many friends, their only family was an elderly cousin, also in her 90s.

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