A deaf and blind man hanged himself in grief after his wife died of a sudden heart attack, a coroner has decided.
Stewart Timms, 63, and his wife Valerie, 68, who was deaf and dumb, had been a loving and devoted couple who dedicated themselves to helping each other with their disabilities.
But after Mrs Timms died in the bedroom of their home in Andoversford in Gloucestershire – her husband hanged himself a few feet away, deputy Gloucestershire coroner David Dooley concluded.
Mr Dooley ruled that Mr Timms, a cabinet maker, committed suicide and that Mrs Timms, a retired housekeeper, had died of natural causes.
The couple had two children and eight grandchildren.
Their bodies, both dressed in nightwear, were found on June 16 this year after their daughter Emma Scott, of Blockley, Gloucestershire, went to visit.
They had last been seen alive two to three days before the discovery.
In a statement, their daughter said her parents had been married for 38 years.
Both were registered deaf and her father was also registered blind after suffering with worsening tunnel vision.
‘They were a couple who were very much in love,’ she said.
‘They did not argue and had not been arguing in particular in the run up to their deaths.
‘They were always there for each other,’ she said.
Mrs Scott said that her father had tried to hang himself 24 years-ago after being told he was going blind – but that he had not said anything recently or immediately before his death which caused her to be concerned.
When she arrived at their house Mrs Scott said she got no answer so she tried the back door and found it unlocked.
She said she had seen her father’s guide dog, Arnie, and realised something was wrong after spotting faeces and urine on the floor.
Mrs Scott said she went to neighbour Adrian Stoner to ask for help. He went into the house and then returned to tell her that her father had hanged himself.
‘I was subsequently informed that mum had also been found and both had been certified deceased,’ she said.
Mrs Scott said she was ‘positive’ her parents’ deaths were not connected – and that neither would ihave assisted the other in taking their life.
‘They were a wonderful couple who were too much in love,’ she said.
Mr Timms’ brother Howard Timms said he had found his brother 24 years ago when he tried to kill himself four months after the devastating news that he was developing blindness. He had been deaf from birth.
His blindness had cost him his job at that time but he had later been re-employed by his former employers and did a less high level job using a special bright light, he said.
‘After he tried to kill himself the hospital discharged him into my care and we took up athletics together.
‘He actually ran marathons and he built up a new life for himself.’
Mr Timms described his brother and Mrs Timms as ‘symbiotic’ in the way they helped each other.
Mrs Timms had learnt to drive in her forties when her husband could no longer do so.
‘He always pushed himself to be cheerful. He didn’t want to be a drag on anyone else,’ said Mr Timms.
Det Insp Alastair Graham, who led the investigation into the double tragedy, said ‘the likely scenario’ was that Mrs Timms had died from ‘non suspicious causes’ some time on Wednesday June 13.