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Bradwell couple Graham and Jennifer Slack intended to take own lives in Breydon Water inquest hears

PUBLISHED: 17:14 22 May 2017 | UPDATED: 17:14 22 May 2017

Fire Search and Rescue, the coastguard and the police at Breydon Water's edge to recover two bodies, believed to be a man and a woman, from the mud bank. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Fire Search and Rescue, the coastguard and the police at Breydon Water's edge to recover two bodies, believed to be a man and a woman, from the mud bank. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Copyright: Archant 2016

A married couple whose bodies were spotted washed up on a mudbank by a birdwatcher with a telescope died in a suicide pact, an inquest heard.

Retired pipefitter Graham Slack, 62, and his 63-year-old-wife Jennifer, a retired nurse, were found bound together at the wrists and drowned at Breydon Water, near Great Yarmouth.

A birdwatcher raised the alarm and the fire service recovered the bodies.

Police found car keys in the pocket of Mr Slack which led officers to the couple’s car which was parked at a harbour car park in Gorleston, further along the river.

MORE: Deaths of couple discovered at Breydon Water not being treated as suspicious, police confirm

Detective Sergeant Craig Lovatt said a suicide note was found inside the car.

Officers went to the couple’s house in Laurel Drive, Bradwell after their bodies were found on September 29 last year.

Police found that they had left cash to pay for their funeral and instructions for next of kin, Monday’s inquest at Norfolk Coroner’s Court in Norwich heard.

The hearing was told that Mrs Slack had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder two decades earlier.

She was in contact with mental health services again after the death of her father in spring 2016, but denied she had plans to end her life, said mental health practitioner Karen Slatcher.

A relative of the couple, Lesley Moore, said in a written statement that the Slacks had been married since 1978 and loved musicals.

“They always seemed very devoted to each other, perhaps more so as they didn’t have children, but they seemed to keep themselves to themselves,” she said.

She saw them at a supermarket a fortnight before they died, when they discussed a holiday they had booked.

She said Mr Slack “mentioned that Jenny wasn’t too great and had a problem with shaking” but that neither of them seemed “stressed”.

She discovered after their deaths that they had driven to Beachy Head two days earlier, after two penalty charge notices for the Dartford Crossing arrived in their post. She had checked Mr Slack’s sat nav after receiving these and found they had plotted the route from their home, which she found “distressing”.

A post-mortem examination found Mr and Mrs Slack drowned, and Norfolk’s senior coroner Jacqueline Lake recorded a conclusion of suicide in both cases.

She said she was concerned that an urgent referral letter from a GP surgery to mental health services was not dealt with on an urgent basis, and she would write to the GP surgery to ask what steps have been put in place to stop it happening again.

The hearing was attended by three relatives of Mr Slack and they made no comment as they left.

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