Suffolk

Stowmarket deaths: Post-mortem tests suggest murder-suicide

Sarah and Richard Pitkin Image copyright Archant
Image caption Sarah and Richard Pitkin opened a tea room in Stowmarket in 2009

A couple whose bodies were found in a house in Suffolk are suspected to have died as a result of a murder-suicide.

The pair, named locally as charity shop worker Sarah Pitkin and her husband Richard, a carpenter, were found dead in Stowmarket at 13:45 GMT on Sunday.

Post-mortem tests found the woman died from "multiple stab wounds". Her death is being treated as murder.

Police said the man, thought to be 65 years old, was found hanged. His death is not being treated as suspicious.

Detectives are not looking for anyone else in connection with the deaths. Formal identification is due to take place later.

Image caption Suffolk Police officers were called to Stowupland Street in Stowmarket on Sunday afternoon

The couple had four children, according to the town's mayor Barry Humphreys. He said it was a "terrible event" to have happened in Stowmarket, where "everybody is connected in some way".

The couple moved to the Suffolk town from London 10 years ago.

Mrs Pitkin, understood to have been in her late 50s, worked as an assistant manager at the St Elizabeth Hospice charity shop in Bury Street, close to Stowupland Street where the bodies were found.

Rachel Backshall, from the hospice, said staff were "shocked and saddened" to hear of Mrs Pitkin's death.

"Sarah was a well-loved member of the team and our thoughts and sincere condolences go out to her family and friends," she said.

"She had been with the hospice for four years and made a huge difference during that time. She was imaginative and creative and brought a real sense of fun to the shop.

"She will be sadly missed by us all."

Mr Pitkin ran a carpentry and decorating business along with the couple's son Tommy. A van with branding for the firm was parked outside the house where Mr Pitkin's body was found.

Publican Paul Berryman said Mr Pitkin was "a well respected carpenter" and "a very good craftsman".

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