England

Cliff-death twins, 59, were found with dead parents' ashes

Cliffs at Langdon Bay Image copyright Google
Image caption Coastguards found the bodies of Muriel and Bernard Burgess while searching for another body

Twins found dead at the foot of cliffs in Dover had rucksacks containing the ashes of their dead parents, an inquest heard.

Muriel and Bernard Burgess, aged 59, from Cheshire, were discovered on New Year's Day having fallen 200ft (60m).

The unemployed "private and reclusive" siblings had struggled since their parents' deaths, the hearing was told.

Coroner Patricia Harding recorded an open conclusion at the inquest at Archbishop's Palace in Maidstone, Kent.

She said: "The evidence doesn't disclose to the required standard of proof whether there was an intention by them to take their own lives or was indeed simply a tragic accident."

'Low mood'

The twins' bodies were found as Kent Police searched for 45-year-old ex-soldier Scott Enion from Radcliffe in Manchester, who had been seen jumping from Langdon Cliffs.

All three bodies were found by coastguards within half a mile of each other on the same day. Mr Enion's death is not connected to that of the twins.

The siblings had been struggling to come to terms with their parents' deaths, particularly that of their mother in 2014, the inquest was told.

Their late father Bernard Burgess died in 1984 and the twins had been caring for their mother, Muriel Burgess, until her death.

One rucksack found near to the twins contained ashes with their mother's name, and it emerged a second rucksack had their father's ashes inside.

Mr and Miss Burgess lived together in a static caravan, neither ever married and they had no children.

They struggled financially and had sold the family home in north Wales to buy a caravan together at Orchard Park in the village of Elton.

Last year the pair disappeared for three months and went into rent arrears, according to the caravan park manager.

'Disappear'

A statement from a GP they had visited together in September said they both agreed to counselling amid reports of having "low mood" but he did not consider Mr Burgess to be suicidal at that time.

Coroner Harding said: "It is clear from the evidence that they were both of the view that they could be assisted by counselling.

"Muriel and Bernard were reclusive and would keep themselves to themselves and disappear and go for walks within the UK."

On Christmas Day, the pair told a police officer who spoke to them on the cliff top that they were out walking.

When their bodies were found were dressed in walking clothing, the inquest was told.

The same coroner recorded a verdict of suicide for Gulf War veteran Mr Enion, who the inquest heard had travelled from Manchester to Dover by coach on New Year's Eve.

He had complained of suffering from Gulf War Syndrome and depression and had considered suicide in the past, the inquest was told.

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