Dead Eastbourne couple 'lived in isolation'

An elderly husband and wife found dead in their East Sussex home were a devoted couple, an inquest has heard.

The bodies of 86-year-old Arthur Private and his wife Patricia, 83, were found in separate rooms at their home in Westham on 6 December.

The inquest was told Mr Private was thought to have died in November and his wife, who suffered from dementia, had been unable to care for herself.

It heard a cause of death could not be found as their bodies were decomposed.

Mr Private had undergone a triple heart by-pass and had been diagnosed with asbestosis in the 1990s, the inquest at Eastbourne Magistrates' Court heard.

'Call 999'

The couple's GP said Mr Private had called him in November saying he believed he was having a stroke.

Dr Ramin Tasharrofi told him to call 999 straight away, but there was no record of the call being made.

Mr Private, who was his wife's sole carer, had refused assistance from social services to help look after her.

Paula Winnings, a niece of Mr Private, said: "They kept themselves to themselves and didn't visit any neighbours.

"I felt that they isolated themselves in Westham and couldn't walk to the local shop because it was too far away for them."

Coroner Alan Craze recorded a verdict of death from natural causes for Mr Private and an open verdict on his wife.

Ms Winnings said: "I presume uncle suffered a heart attack because of the stress and auntie was unable to get food or water. It's all very sad."

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