Police investigate deaths of OAP brother and sister

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AN elderly man found dead in the home of his sister had recently moved in to help her cope with with severe arthritis.

 

The bodies of John Guthrie and Williamina Thomson were discovered on Monday night at the semi-detached home their shared in Penicuik, Midlothian.

 

Mr Guthrie, 78, had moved from his home in Lerwick, Shetland, earlier this year to help look after his housebound 80-year-old sister.

 

Police said there were no suspicious circumstances around the death and that a suicide pact was not a line of enquiry.

 

One source suggested “it looks like it could be medical”.

 

But police refused to comment on speculation that Mr Guthrie, who had not been seen for some weeks, died first leaving his sister unable to raise the alarm or fend for herself.

 

The couple had not been seen for some time, raising the possibility they had been dead for a while.

 

A local at the Crown Inn, which Mr Guthrie occasionally visited, said: “He did all the cooking,cleaning and,looking after his sister.

 

“They never had any help from the Council. John was a fit man, although he was in his 70s. I think he was too proud to ask for help.

 

“He had absolutely no health problems,nothing wrong with him at all. He was as fit as a fiddle.

 

“Like I say, it’s strange, very strange. He was quite capable of looking after his sister. It’s the,Shetland way, you look after your own. You don’t take on any outside help.”

 

Williamina, according to locals, had been suffering from arthritis for several years.

 

As it continued to worsen, John, who lived in Shetland, moved up to Penicuik to help out.

 

Crown landlady Christine Martin, 34, said: “John was a lovely wee man, really friendly and never had a bad word to say about anyone.

 

“He hadn’t been in for a while but he used to come in quite a lot, mostly in the afternoons.

 

“The police came to my door yesterday – I live in the next street and they were doing door to door enquiries.

 

“They were just asking when I last saw him I said it was about eight weeks ago, just in passing. He was looking after his sister who had arthritis. He used to take the bus down.

 

“He was in the pub maybe once or twice a week but sometimes you wouldn’t see him for a few weeks. It wasn’t unusual not to see him for a while.

 

“He used to sing folk songs in here. I hear he used to play the fiddle as well Not everybody knew him but he will be missed.

 

A local postman who has worked in the area for a decade said of John: “He was a nice,smiley guy. He always had a smile on his face.

 

“I didn’t know them. I don’t think many people did.

 

“They seemed like two ordinary people. They weren’t a couple I’d see all the time. Just when you would have the usual “Hello how’re you doing?” if they had a package.”

 

A spokeswoman for Midlothian council said that the two were not council tenants and were not on the system for environmental healthcare or social services.

 

A Police Scotland spokeswoman said: “There is nothing sinister about it. There is nothing in it to suggest murder or suicide.

 

“Enquiries into the deaths are ongoing and anyone with information that can assist officers with their investigation is asked to contact police immediately.”

 

In May this year, two elderly brothers were found dead in a supposed ‘suicide pact’ in a house in Edinburgh.

 

Jack and Bob McIlwain died from gunshot wounds to the stomach.

 

Jack, 71, and Bob, 73, suffered from a severe lung condition caused by exposure to asbestos.

 

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