The pain that was too much to bear

The family of tragic teenager Natasha Coombs were last night mourning a second loss after her mother's body was found in identical circumstances just yards from the spot where she died.

The family of tragic teenager Natasha Coombs were last night mourning a second loss after her mother's body was found in identical circumstances just yards from the spot where she died.

Police were investigating the possibility that grief-stricken Joanne Coombs took her own life after she was discovered on the main Norwich to London rail line. Seventeen-year-old Natasha, her only child, was discovered on the same stretch of track last month following a two-week search.

The 40-year-old's death comes just ten days after what would have been Natasha's 18th birthday. She had earlier spoken of her pain, saying: “The house is so empty without her. It's unbearable. She was the most important thing in my life and the reason I got up in the morning.”

Husband Gary Coombs, a senior manager at Norwich Union in Norwich, was yesterday said to be devastated by the chain of events and unable to speak publicly. He spent the day at his home in Dovercourt, Essex, and visited a local church alone.

Mrs Coombs parents' Peter and Wendy Clackett said they were “totally devastated” but did not want to say anything more at this stage.

The discovery was made on Tuesday night at Manningtree, Essex. The body has not yet been formally identified.

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But a service at All Saints Church, Dovercourt, was dedicated to Mrs Coombs' memory. The Rev Erwin Lammens said: “You have probably heard this morning the sad news about the mother of Natasha Coombs who passed away this morning or this night. I would like to dedicate this service to her and the Coombs family.”

Mrs Coombs had wept publicly following Natasha's death and was widely understood to be struggling to come to terms with her loss.

Natasha, a clerical assistant, vanished after a night out in Ipswich leading to a major police search. She had been upset about breaking up with boyfriend Josh Brennan, 18. One theory is that she had been making her way along rail tracks to his home in Lawford, Essex, when she was hit. A coroner is still investigating the circumstances.

A growing number of tributes, including flowers and candles, were yesterday left near to the spot where

mother and daughter died.

One note read: “I know you have left Gary, family and friends who loved you dearly but I hope they will be able to take comfort that you and Natasha are at peace together. I hope you and Natasha are skipping in heaven together.”

Mrs Coombs had held an emotional garden party to celebrate Natasha's life earlier this month and up to 50 of her friends were invited.

Chloe Merrigan, 17, was among those who attended. She said: “During the party they gave out things that belonged to Natasha like bits of her jewellery, brooches and rings. Her parents wanted her friends to have keepsakes of her so they would always remember her.”

Former neighbours Bill and Stephanie Brundell said: “It's terrible. Joanne lived next door for 11 years and we can't believe it.

“She was a lovely person and everything you would want from a neighbour - kind, friendly and helpful. Nothing was too much trouble for her and she would often walk our dogs for us if we couldn't do it ourselves.”

Family friend Paul Revell said his wife and daughter had been members of the Brantham Amateur Theatrical Society also attended by Natasha and Mrs Coombs. “I'm stunned and shocked, as will be the whole community here,” he said.

“Our deepest sympathies are with the family today. My wife and daughter are very upset. We are all trying to come to terms with what has happened.”

A spokesman from East Bergholt High, where Natasha went to school, said the school was still coming to terms with the news but their thoughts were with Mr Coombs.

A British Transport Police spokesman said the driver of the 7pm Liverpool Street to Norwich service reported a possible track fault. When the line was checked by the driver of a following freight train, he found the body.

“BTP can confirm that this is the same location where the body of 17-year- old Natasha Coombs was found on 10 August,” the spokesman said.

“It is believed that the woman was struck and killed by the train reporting the track fault. This incident is not being treated as suspicious.”

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