A reclusive brother and sister found dead side by side in their home were grieving the loss of their beloved father weeks earlier, an inquest has heard.

The bodies of Christopher and Nicola Long, 49 and 46, were discovered at their property in Middleton Crescent, Costessey, on July 31, 2021.

An inquest into their deaths found that police discovered the siblings after their uncle, Nick Long, had raised the alarm having gone to check on them.

In a statement, Nick Long told the court he had gone round after seeing an appeal from the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital for the next of kin for the siblings' father, Christopher Long senior, which was published in this newspaper.

The appeal stated that Mr Long had died of lung cancer on July 14 that year and the hospital had been unable to contact his next of kin.

Nick Long told the court the family had grown reclusive over the years following the suicide of Nicola's and brother Christopher's mother, Margaret, in 1982.

He said that following his wife's death, Christopher Long senior had devoted his life to looking after his two children, who both had complex mental health needs.

Nicola Long was diagnosed as schizophrenic while Christopher Long junior lived with anxiety, depression and psychosis.

The inquest heard that while both siblings had been assessed more than a decade ago, neither had any recent contact with mental health services, instead receiving care through their GP.

It also heard the surgery had learned of Christopher Long senior's death from the hospital and was planning to write to the siblings regarding this, as they were uncomfortable talking on the phone.

But before the letter could be sent, the surgery learned too of their deaths.

Dr Subhash Patel, of Beechcroft Surgery, said: "We have since made positive changes to make sure we write to bereaved families sooner and our staff have attended suicide awareness training."

Post mortem examinations ascertained that Nicola Long had died before her brother and there was "no evidence of third party involvement" in either of their deaths.

Jacqueline Lake, senior coroner for Norfolk, concluded that Christopher Long junior's death was suicide and gave an open conclusion for Nicola Long.

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