Pair died while using barbecue for warmth

Cedar Close Willingdon Trees Eastbourne SUS-150904-070401001
Cedar Close Willingdon Trees Eastbourne SUS-150904-070401001

An elderly couple died in their home from carbon monoxide poisoning after lighting a barbecue to keep them warm.

The coroner said the case highlighted the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning, and said there was an ‘issue in terms of public information’.

Patrick and Marianne Charles, who lived in Cedar Close, Eastbourne, had lit the barbecue in their conservatory for warmth on a cold November evening after there had been a power cut.

An inquest into their deaths found as a result of this the pair became unconscious and were killed by the fumes.

Mr Charles, 78, and Mrs Charles, 74, had sat down for their evening meal on November 25, 2014.

The inquest heard there had been a power cut in the area at the time, during UK Power Network works.

The couple, who had been married for 53 years, then sat down in the conservatory with a glass of wine.

The windows and doors were closed, sealing the room off from the rest of the house.

After the barbecue was lit, the pair were likely to have been unconscious within minutes.

The couple were not found until December 11, after their son Andrew raised the alarm.

In a statement which was read at the inquest, he said his parents often went abroad on holiday, or stayed with friends.

It was because of this, that it would not have been unusual for the couple to go weeks without contact.

The inquest also heard statements from neighbours which said the pair ‘kept themselves to themselves’.

But the alarm was raised on December 11, and police visited the property, where they found the couple dead.

Police collected evidence at the scene, and said there was no sign of a break in.

A post-mortem found the cause of death to be carbon monoxide poisoning.

A statement by their son Andrew said, “They loved their holidays, faithful friends and their grandchildren. They were happy and in love after 53 years of marriage.”

East Sussex deputy coroner Christopher Wilkinson recorded a conclusion of accident death at the inquest, which was held at Hastings Magistrates Court on Tuesday.