Murder-suicide linked to ‘financial worries’

The scene of the incident
The scene of the incident

THE DEATHS of a Friston couple who died in tragic circumstances are being linked to financial problems.

Jennifer Phelps was found strangled at her home on Monday March 14 shortly before her husband’s body was recovered from the foot of cliffs at Beachy Head.

Police are treating the incident as murder-suicide and are not looking for anyone else in connection with their deaths.

The possibility of a mercy killing has also been ruled out.

The incident unfolded after a car at Crowlink Lane was reported as abandoned just before 9am on Monday, March 14.

A pile of clothes was found near the scene and evidence left in the car directed police to a house at Friston Place Estate, where the body of 64-year-old Mrs Phelps was found in the bedroom.

The body of her 64-year-old husband John was located by the coastguard at the bottom of cliffs near Beachy Head just before 1pm on the same day.

A post mortem showed that Mrs Phelps had died due to strangulation and her spouse had died of multiple injuries consistent with a fall from height.

Detective Inspector Carwyn Hughes, of the major crime branch, said, “It would appear that financial worries was a deep-seated reason behind this tragic incident and form a key part of our ongoing investigation.”

The couple had been married for more than 40 years and in a tribute their sons said they were devoted to each other and their family.

The statement continued,“We loved them dearly and they are sadly missed.”

An inquest into the deaths has been opened and adjourned.