Bedworth ‘suicide pact’ couple found lying side-by-side

A MARRIED couple have been found dead in their Bedworth home following an apparent tragic suicide pact.

Mark and Helen Mullins

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.”

www.coventrytelegraph.net

Comments
  • Zachary Danger Martin on Facebook November 8, 2011 at 9:22 pm

    Expect more of the same. 🙁

  • Joe Kane on Facebook November 8, 2011 at 9:45 pm

    The lovely Sue Marsh has just been on Channel 4 after the main evening news, talking about this

    See the BT post below, here –
    https://www.facebook.com/blacktriangle11/posts/174753412614958

    Or Channel 4 online here –
    http://www.channel4.com/programmes/4thoughttv/episode-guide/series-2/episode-107

    And comment about what Sue had to say on Channel 4 online here –
    http://www.4thought.tv/themes/is-everyone-entitled-to-welfare/sue-marsh

  • Gail Ward on Facebook November 8, 2011 at 9:49 pm

    well i hopw they can sleep easy at nite…:(

  • Ann Boyne on Facebook November 8, 2011 at 9:53 pm

    so sad, but yes i expect more to happen !! trying to access benefits at the moment is atrocious, 0845 numbers who the hell can afford to keep ringing to even make a claim !!

  • Lynn Harrison on Facebook November 8, 2011 at 11:33 pm

    (I have so much I have to say about this, apart from the fact that this is probably happening everywhere, I worked as a mental health / generic crisis advocate for 3 years in Coventry and Warks until 2009 when funding ran out, the DPO I worked for then got funding again last year but a couple of weeks ago the manager of the MH user group told me that the new advocate is struggling and feeling unsupported. Independent Advocacy, which they speak of, can only support people who are in receipt of MH services, Dial in Bedworth and Nuneaton had their funding cut and have been struggling to survive, there is no DPO in this area funded for information and advice. When I was an advocate I took on many cases like Helen’s where disabled parents, particularly those with MH and learning difficulty impairments lost their children as this was seen as most cost effective by ss and all of the local solicitors take on cases but they also work for SS. My work with parents was seen as too time consuming. MH services in this area have been heavily cut back and are viewed by users as ineffective. ) still, as a mental health sevice user myself I will probably be seen as mad as per

  • Lynn Harrison on Facebook November 8, 2011 at 11:36 pm

    Basically, imho people with mh diagnoses in this area (apart from the user group which struggles on bravely) are and have been shafted for a long time and these are two of many, many deaths over many years

  • Lynn Harrison on Facebook November 8, 2011 at 11:42 pm

    the voices of the many Mark and Helen’s need to be heard and heeded before they get to a point of no return

  • Angela Mitchell on Facebook November 9, 2011 at 12:51 am

    The Samaritans must be overworked from all these cases? I worked with them when Labour first took power in 1997 and there were a number of phone calls relating to benefit problems. But I can only imagine what the advisors are having to deal with now?

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