Coroner unclear whether Hogsthorpe couple found in bath had taken own lives

A COUPLE who swindled money from an elderly man were found partially clothed dead in a bath with an electric toaster placed beside it, an inquest heard.

Steven John Pasfield, 48, and his wife Heike Susanne Pasfield, 46, of Stones Close, Hogsthorpe, could have been dead for ‘several days’ when a neighbour found them, as neither had been seen and a local newspaper was left by the door.

Officers entered the home on March 31 at 7.15pm after neighbours became concerned about the quiet couple’s well-being.

In a statement heard at the inquest held at the former Louth Magistrates’ Court, last Thursday, Insp Stamp of Lincolnshire Police, said the occupants could have been there some time and were deceased in a bath. There were no notes found in the bungalow but an extension cable was reaching from the kitchen round to the bathroom with a toaster plugged into it which was left on the floor by the bath.

Mrs Pasfield was found with her feet facing towards the taps, covered in vomit and a dish was found full of bodily fluids near her.

Whereas Mr Pasfield, also facing the same way, had blood around his mouth and tablets from prescriptions were found in the property.

Both the couple suffered with various medical conditions which required medication.

Leading up to the discovery of their death, a neighbour said they had not been seen in a week but heard running water on March 28.

The hearing heard, in a police report, that the death ‘appeared to be suicide’ and the pair must have got in the bath of their own free will, took a quantity of tablets and placed the toaster beside them ‘in preparation’.

In a post-mortem examination, the cause could not be attained and in toxicology, it showed Mr Pasfield had codeine, paracetamol and ibuprofen in his blood, he also had excess alcohol but did not have any burns from potential use of the toaster.

And Mrs Pasfield was found with various prescribed substances in her blood but results could not prove these were at a fatal limit.

Summing up, deputy coroner, Mr Richard Marshall said it was a ‘slightly strange and puzzling’ case.

Mr Marshall stated that both had taken drugs, Mr Pasfield had consumed alcohol but both were found not to be at fatal levels. There was also no water found in the bath, nor any burns from possible electrocution. There was no suicide note but they did have an unhappy family background.

The inquest heard how Mr Pasfield was given an allowance for looking after his elderly father but took advantage of the use of his bank and credit cards.

Mrs Pasfield, of German heritage, was given an allowance from family.

And the pair had not been in contact with Mr Pasfield’s father since October 2011, after being accused of not looking after him and using the money for their personal use.

Summing up Mr Marshall said he ‘couldn’t be certain they’d tried to take their own lives’ and he concluded that in each case it was an open verdict.