Saturday, December 27, 2014 11:59 am
A British couple have been found dead at their home, in Billingshurst, West Sussex, in an apparent suicide pact.
The couple were said to have had a Christmas dinner with their two disabled children before killing themselves, friends said.
Julia and Jan Tshabalala had their family meal a day early on Christmas Eve, then sent their two young children to stay with relatives.
The next morning they were found dead, the Daily Mail reported today.
Neighbours said they had seemed to be a ‘nice happy family’. The couple’s daughter, Serena, had cerebral palsy, although she did not need a wheelchair, while their son, Junior, had learning difficulties.
Police visited the rented £150,000 home on Christmas Day after a relative went to the house just after 9am.
He apparently looked through a window and saw Jan, 33, who worked as a carer, hanging in a room. His wife Julia, in her 30s, was also dead inside.
Yesterday, the couple’s white Kia 4×4 was outside their home, and a police officer was seen feeding the family’s pet rabbits.
Their children, thought to be aged between four and seven, go to a local school specialising in learning difficulties.
The couple were both declared dead at the scene. Sussex Police said post-mortem examinations will be carried out and it was not clear whether Mrs Tshabalala suffered injuries or was suffocated.
Police sealed off the house but declined to reveal if suicide notes had been found, saying: ‘Officers are working to establish the circumstances of the death but are not looking for anyone else in connection with this incident.’