A MARRIED couple have been found dead in their Bedworth home following an apparent tragic suicide pact.
Mark and Helen Mullins were found lying side by side in their home in Henson Road, Bedworth.
Friends have spoken of the tragic couple’s struggle to access the correct benefits – leaving them living “hand to mouth” on food handouts from a Coventry soup kitchen which they walked five miles to each week.
Now charity workers are demanding to know how the “wonderful couple” were able to slip through the net and not get the support they needed from the state.
Police are investigating the deaths, which they say are being treated as “unexplained” at this stage.
Those who knew the couple believe they may have been there for up to two weeks before neighbours and relatives raised the alarm.
Salvation Army leader and leading Coventry charity worker Kervin Julien met the couple after they walked from Bedworth to Coventry to eat at a soup kitchen he ran in the city centre.
He said the pair made the 10-mile round trip on foot every week to eat and pick up a handout of food to take home.
Kervin told the Telegraph: “Mark talked about the difficulties they were having accessing the correct benefits. He also talked about the authorities taking Helen’s daughter away from her but not acknowledging her mental health problems.
“I did see Mark two or three weeks ago. He was really upset. He said he and Helen had been staying with relatives and friends to try and avoid the authorities, as they believed they wanted to section Helen.
“Mark was absolutely devoted to Helen and didn’t want to be separated from her – they just wanted support.
“I don’t agree with their decision but these were two people asking for help, and separation wasn’t an option.
“The question needs to be asked – why was it they felt they had no-one else to turn to that they decided on the course of action they did?
“It’s sad that in this day and age we have still got prehistoric services that are not meeting the needs of the people who need them.
“What we have doesn’t work and we must fix it. There is a shortfall in the mental health services.”
Chillingly Mark and Helen were interviewed at the Coventry soup kitchen last year and spoke of the troubles they were having, which has since been posted online.
Mark, who had previously served in the army and was in his late 40s, told the interviewer the pair were having to live on a very small income. He explained they had been forced to live in just one room of their home and survived on food handouts given to them.
Mark said: “Last year they took Helen’s youngest daughter from her and gave her to relatives to be looked after.
“The job centre decided Helen couldn’t sign on as she was incapable of employment, as she has no literacy and numeracy skills. However the incapacity people wouldn’t recognise her disabilities until she has been properly diagnosed, which led to month after month of seeing specialists, we’re in a catch 22 situation.
“We’re living hand to mouth.”
Mark added the pair made a broth from the weekly handouts of vegetables given to them at the Coventry soup kitchen and lived on it for the entire week.
“They cooked the food on a single gas ring and kept the produce outside as they did not have a fridge.
Reacting to the news of the couple’s death, Kervin added: “They were an absolutely wonderful couple.
“They were softly spoken and very grateful. They were kind-hearted, loving people.
“Our sympathies, concerns and prayers are with their families.”
A Warwickshire Police spokesman said: “Post mortem examinations have been conducted on the bodies of a man and a woman which were found at an address in Henson Road, Bedworth, on Thursday November 4.
“The results are inconclusive and police are now waiting for toxicology tests to establish how the two people died.
“They are not looking for anyone else in connection with the deaths, which are being treated as unexplained at this time.”
‘Worried neighbours raised the alarm’
NEIGHBOURS in Henson Road yesterday spoke of their shock as news of the double tragedy spread.
Worried neighbours and relatives were among those who raised the alarm after realising they had not seen the couple for weeks.
One nearby resident, who did not want to be named, said: “I phoned the police over a week ago, because I was concerned that I had not seen Helen or Mark for some time.
“I used to notice them regularly walking up the street but I had not seen anything of them since early October and their car had not moved off the drive.
“Apparently, the police called at their house after my call and although they did not get any reply, they did not spot anything unduly suspicious.
“When they turned up again on Thursday an officer told me that a relative had also been in touch. This time they forced their way in through a rear door and found Helen and Mark dead.
“It is a real tragedy. Helen had some learning difficulties but was a lovely lady.
“Her and Mark kept themselves pretty much to themselves but used to go out walking a lot.”
Another neighbour said: “Mark told me he had once been a physical education instructor in the army and that he and Helen had married three years ago, which is about the same time they moved into the house.
“I think they had relatives living in Northamptonshire. They used to go in the car to visit them and the last time I spoke with Mark he said they were planning another trip soon.
“But I had not seen either of them for a few weeks.
“It was quite a shock when we saw all the police activity and forensic officers in white suits going into the house.
“Then the council arrived to put steel shutters over all the windows.
“We are all quite upset over what has happened.”