Suicide pact theory in double death

A solicitor and his elderly mother found dead at their Hethersett home are thought to have died in a suicide pact.Police were this week continuing to investigate the double deaths of 85-year-old Doreen Bryant and devoted son Cavan Stevens, 61, after they were discovered lying peacefully in their beds at home in Mill Close 13 days ago.

A solicitor and his elderly mother found dead at their Hethersett home are thought to have died in a suicide pact.

Police were this week continuing to investigate the double deaths of 85-year-old Doreen Bryant and devoted son Cavan Stevens, 61, after they were discovered lying peacefully in their beds at home in Mill Close 13 days ago.

The main line of inquiry is that the pair, who were both in ill health and had no other immediate family, planned to take their own lives.

A neighbour and friend of more than 40 years said he believed there was no doubt the deaths were pre-meditated. Mr Stevens had amended his will just three days earlier and had bought only the most basic provisions on a shopping trip on which he would normally buy groceries to last a week.


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Alan Taylor said: “She was incapac-itated and he was at the lower end of health for a man his age. He moved in six years ago when she went into a diabetic coma and had been there ever since. He was very caring and did everything he could to look after her, but he had no real hobbies and no family of his own. They lived for each other and had nothing else in the world.

“The police have to investigate it, but there is so much evidence that everybody accepts that they had planned it for some time.”

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Widow Mrs Bryant was found on October 24 by a friend, who was let into the house by Mr Taylor. It was originally thought Mr Stevens was visiting a house he owned at Kenil-worth, Warwickshire, at the time. But when police returned the next day his body was found in an adjoining room.

The property was clean and tidy, with no sign of a disturbance. There was no food in the fridge and the pair's medication, left normally on a kitchen worktop, was stowed away neatly. No suicide notes were left.

Mrs Bryant was a retired fire service telephonist whose third husband died about 10 years ago. As well as suffering from diabetes she had other conditions that restricted her mobility, leaving her virtually housebound.

This week, their bungalow at the end of a quiet cul-de-sac was empty. The only remaining family are thought to be distant cousins. A death notice was placed in our sister paper, the Eastern Daily Press, by funeral directors Blyth and Sons.

An inquest has been opened and adjourned, and tests are being conducted to find the cause of death.

Det Sgt Tom Smith of Norfolk CID said the death remained unexplained but added: “We are not looking for any-one else in relation to this incident.”

Mr Taylor said: “Doreen would some-times come to the shops, but other than that she did not leave the house. They would sit in the conservatory reading books and doing crosswords. They seemed happy enough but didn't reveal much about themselves.

“I went shopping with Cavan on the Tuesday and I remember remarking that he hadn't bought very much. Normally he would buy four bags full of shopping, but that day he only bought one. He said it was because they already had plenty in. It was only when I heard what happened that the significance of what he said dawned on me. I never saw him again after that.

“It's just tragic, but I suppose they just gave up on life and didn't want to suffer any more.”

It is thought the police are examining two possibilities: that Mr Stevens helped Mrs Bryant to die before taking his own life; or that they both agreed to take their own lives at the same time.

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