An elderly couple was found dead in their gas-filled home on the first day of the second national lockdown.
Stanley Grout, 79, and wife June, 80, were found ‘unresponsive’ on Thursday in their semi-detached house in Norfolk by neighbours.
Emergency services were called to the property in Old Becclesgate, Dereham shortly before 12pm.
Police, firefighters and paramedics from the Hazardous Area Response Team attended and the couple was pronounced dead at the scene.
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Police are treating their deaths as ‘unexplained’ and there is no indication anyone else was involved.
Residents of nearby homes were evacuated and not allowed to return for five hours while firefighters and paramedics in chemical protection suits went into the house.
Family friend Tina Myhill, 42, said: ‘I know June was really ill. She had arthritis in her knees and a stomach problem. He was always getting her medicine from Boots, and I think he had arthritis in his hands.
‘They went a bit downhill after they lost their dog Lulu earlier this year. They were heartbroken to lose her because they were real animal lovers.
‘[Stanley] always had dog treats in his pocket and would give them to any dog he came across.
‘Everyone knew him as Grouty and he also used his middle name Peter. They were a very nice couple and I am shocked to bits about what has happened.
‘Grouty was really good friends with my dad and sat with him every night for more than two years when he was seriously ill before he died a few years ago.
‘He was very comical and loved a joke. When I was a little girl, he would bring us little treats on Valentine’s Day and we would call him Father Valentine.’
Sales administrator Natasha Thew, 32, who lives two doors away from Mr and Mrs Grout, said: ‘They were always very nice.
‘I would see them at weekends and he would always put his hand up to say hello. I didn’t see so much of her. It would be usually be when they were getting in the car together.
‘She had a couple of walking sticks and was a bit unstable. I am pretty sure that he carried on going to the shops in the last lockdown.’
A Norfolk Police spokesperson said they were continuing to investigate the ‘unexplained’ deaths.
They said: ‘The bodies of a man and woman, aged in their 70s and 80s, were found inside the property.
‘The deaths continue to be treated as unexplained and a further examination of the scene will be conducted today. Post mortem examinations will be held in due course.
‘A cordon has been put in place while enquiries continue. Next of kin have been informed.’
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