Retired couple battling ill-health died from taking the same drugs

‘Larger-than-life’ retired couple, both 80, battling ill-health died from taking a combination of drugs before their son found them side-by-side at home, inquest hears

  • Sydney and June Ward were discovered dead inside their home by their son Paul
  • Paul let himself in because he was worried after not hearing from either of them
  • Husband and wife, both aged 80, had each taken the same combination of drugs
  • Police later discovered notes left by June at the home in Foxhill, South Yorkshire

A ‘larger-than-life’ couple who died side-by-side after taking a combination of drugs were found at home by their only son, an inquest heard.

Sydney and June Ward were discovered dead at their home on January 14 by son Paul Ward, who found his parents lying on the floor together.

Paul had let himself in because he was worried after not hearing from this parents.

The husband and wife, both aged 80, had each taken the same combination of drugs and both had a history of mental health issues, a coroner heard.

Sydney and June Ward (pictured) were discovered dead at their home on January 14 by son Paul Ward, who found his parents lying on the floor together

A statement read out from his doctor revealed Sydney had suffered from a list of debilitating conditions.

These included lung disease and high blood pressure, which left him housebound.

He had recently been diagnosed with prostate cancer but chose not to receive treatment for as, according to Paul, he believed one of his pre-existing health problems would kill him first.

Sheffield Coroner’s Court, South Yorks., heard June was his carer and that Sydney’s mental health problems had increased in recent years as his physical condition declined.

Police later discovered notes left by June and found empty packs of tablets in the kitchen of their home in Foxhill, South Yorks.

However, despite the couple’s difficulties in their later years, Paul said they had enjoyed a largely happy life together.

He said: ‘They were larger-than-life. Dad was the comedian and my mum was the drama queen.

‘They were just working people living working people’s lives. They had a pretty good life generally. It sounds awful but it actually wasn’t like that.’

He added that Sydney had been a metal worker and June was a clerk for East Midlands Gas before they retired.

Assistant coroner Katy Dickinson recorded a narrative verdict, saying they both died after taking the same combination of drugs but it was not clear they had intended to take their own lives. 

To contact the Samaritans, visit www.samaritans.org or call 116 123.

Sheffield Coroner’s Court (pictured) heard June was her husband’s carer and that Sydney’s mental health problems had increased in recent years as his physical condition declined

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