Horsham Couple Named

7 April 2010, 17:43 | Updated: 7 April 2010, 18:08

A couple who were found dead within hours of each other have been named as Gillian and John Swinden.

Police said they were not looking for anyone else in connection with the deaths of the elderly couple.

Swan Walk car park, Horsham

An investigation was launched after the 71-year-old John Swinden was seen jumping from the four-storey building at the Swan Walk shopping centre, Horsham, West Sussex, just before 10.30am on Saturday.

He fell between 70ft and 80ft into the car park of a nearby church and was declared dead at the scene. A post mortem has found he died as the result of multiple injuries.

When officers went to his home in Treadcroft Drive, Horsham, just before noon, they were concerned at being unable to reach anyone inside. After forcing their way in through the kitchen door, they found the body of the 70-year-old Gillian in a bedroom.

A post-mortem examination carried out at New East Surrey Hospital, Redhill, yesterday revealed she died of ``manual strangulation'', Sussex Police said.

Neighbours in the cul-de-sac spoke of their shock at the deaths of the couple, who only moved into the bungalow recently. Some described seeing the woman in a wheelchair in recent weeks, but did not know her name.

On Sunday an estate agents' ``sold'' sign lay in the neat front garden of the red-brick semi-detached bungalow, which had net curtains drawn across the windows.

A 75-year-old man who lives near the house said: ``I think they had only been living here a matter of weeks. The house had been empty for a long time.

``I think I saw the lady once in a wheelchair, and that was it. ``It's primarily elderly people living down here. It's a quiet cul-de-sac, and this sort of thing just doesn't happen.''

A man was seen carrying a cat in a basket out of the bungalow, which has handrails by the front door. Forensics officers were at the house during the day.

The following statement is issued by Sussex Police at the request and on behalf of the family of the late Mr and Mrs Swinden;

"On behalf of the daughters, and their respective families, of Jill and John Swinden we can say that they are all devastated by the events of Saturday.

"Jill and John were loving parents and grandparents who were always thoughtful and kind. They will be remembered with many great memories and will be desperately missed by their family and friends. The family would now like the time to mourn the loss of Jill and John and to treasure the memories that they have."