Body Found In Hove Flat

A man who had been in hospital after the death of his wife in their Hove flat, has now died.

The family of a pensioner who died of natural causes after being arrested on suspicion of murdering his elderly wife said "they loved each other very much''.

Relatives of 85-year-old Frederick and 71-year-old Mary Saunders said they could not imagine their lives would end so tragically after 52 "happy years'' of marriage.

Terminally-ill Mr Saunders was arrested after the ambulance service called police to their flat at King George VI Mansions in Hove, East Sussex, on November 29.

In the bedroom, emergency teams found the body of his wife. A post-mortem examination failed to establish a cause of death, although no natural cause could be found.

One line of inquiry being explored by detectives from the Surrey and Sussex major crime team is that the death of Mrs Saunders was a "mercy killing''.

Today a statement issued by police on behalf of their relatives said: "The close families of Fred and Mary Saunders would like to express their deep sadness and shock at the circumstances leading to their recent deaths.

"Fred had been battling against terminal cancer and, as his health had deteriorated, Mary struggled with the thought of life without her husband of 52 happy years.

"They loved each other very much and were very close. None of us could have imagined that they would come to such a tragic end but we are pleased they are both now at peace.''

Following the discovery of Mrs Saunders' body, her husband was admitted to the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton for minor injuries and then arrested on suspicion of murder.

Sussex Police said he was formally released from arrest on November 30 but remained in hospital.

On Saturday, after agreement had been given by hospital consultants, detectives went to his hospital bedside and questioned him under caution about his wife's death.

Police said that Mr Saunders died on Monday from natural causes as a result of long-standing illness. No post-mortem examination will take place into his death.

Nobody else was being sought in connection with Mrs Saunders' death, and further tests being carried out on her body are expected to take some weeks.

Inquests into their deaths were opened and adjourned yesterday at Brighton Coroner's Court ahead of a full hearing on April 3, a police spokesman said.