Elderly couple in joint suicide pact to avoid ‘degrading death’ in care home

An elderly married couple who had both suffered ill health killed themselves at home together amid fears of a 'degrading' death in care, an inquest heard.

Albert, 89, and Margaret Eno, 87, were found dead in a double suicide at their family home in April last year.

Both had suffered bouts of ill health, an inquest, held in Plymouth, Devon, heard.

The couple suffocated themselves in a planned suicide pact and had jointly made the decision to die.

Senior coroner Ian Arrow heard the couple's son raised concerns in the months prior to the tragedy that his father was 'depressed' and talking 'about death quite a lot'.


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Albert, of Torquay, Devon, was assessed by his GP – who heard that he was fearful of suffering a 'horrible and deeply degrading' death like his best friend had in a hospice.

The inquest heard he had previously suffered with cancer but had undergone successful radiotherapy.

Despite his negative thoughts, the retired shopkeeper was considered to be 'enjoying life' and in good health for his age.

But he was also worried that his wife 'wouldn't be able to cope' without him, and the inquest heard that Margaret suffered from Paget's disease of bone.


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Her GP had no concerns about her mental well-being and noted that she had a 'supportive family' and that she enjoyed weekly visits from her son.

But despite this, the couple made the joint decision to take their own lives.

Detective Constable Andrew Derbyshire said: "After some consideration, it was deemed both individuals had made the choice to end their own lives and there was nothing suspicious that gave us cause for concern."

Senior coroner Ian Arrow said Albert's medical cause of death was suffocation.

Mr Arrow said he was satisfied beyond all reasonable doubt that Margaret had chosen to end her own life. He reached the same conclusion with her husband Albert.

Their relatives were not present for the inquest, held on Tuesday.

Mr Arrow said: "I would like to extend my condolences to the family, who are not present today – I am very sorry to hear of Margaret and Albert's deaths."

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