Norfolk couple in suicide pact had sent letters to friends
12:17 02 April 2014
A Norfolk couple who did not want to go to a nursing home killed themselves in a pact made 30 years ago.
Friends said they were “devastated” when handwritten letters from Reg Williams, 72, and his wife Sue, 66, arrived in the post and they realised what had happened.
The couple, of Norwich Road, Saxlingham Nethergate, had mentioned this to a friend on a single occasion 30 years ago.
And when Mrs Williams’ health began to deteriorate they got their affairs in order, sending letters to friends and even leaving cash for the window cleaner, and took a fatal overdose.
June Jackson, a close friend, said she first met Mr Williams more than three decades ago while working in Great Clacton in Essex.
“He had a funny sense of humour and we both shared an interest in rabbits,” she said, in a statement read at an inquest into the deaths yesterday. “We used to meet up for a good many a year, then suddenly out of the blue they said they had this suicide pact.
“They didn’t want to go into a nursing home, but when they couldn’t cope or illness took over they had the pact. This was a comment made 30 years ago.”
She said she did not like to talk of such things, and it was not mentioned again. But when letters from the couple arrived on January 9, she realised what had happened.
“I recognised the writing to be Reg’s, and as I started to read the first few lines I knew they had killed themselves,” she said. “It said by the time you were reading this they would be gone.”
She alerted police, who went to the couple’s home that day and found them dead, lying fully clothed next to each other on a bed.
“To us they seemed happy,” added Mrs Jackson. “They were certainly happy with each other. I’m devastated about what happened. They were such good friends.”
Sergeant Neil Williams, based at Diss, described arriving at the couple’s large detached house to find the front door slightly open. There was a key in the lock with string going through the letter box, he said in a written statement read to the inquest. Mr and Mrs Williams were found dead on the bed.
A post-mortem examination recorded the medical cause of the couple’s death as drug toxicity.
When police checked upstairs bedrooms they found yellow sticky notes saying that items had been washed and cleaned.
A written letter was attached to the mirror in the hallway, and other letters to friends were left at home.
Money was left for the window cleaner, and all matters such as bills were taken care of.
Jacqueline Lake, senior coroner for Norfolk, said Mr Williams had no risk of self-harm in his medical notes, and while Mrs Williams was diagnosed with depression in January 2012 doctors found no thoughts of self-harm and noted she had a very supportive husband.
Ms Lake concluded both Mr and Mrs Williams took their own lives.
If you have feelings of anxiety and need help, contact the Samaritans on 08457 90 90 90.