Boys 'thought dead parents were asleep'

Two young boys who were found in the same flat where the bodies of their mother and father were discovered thought their dead parents were asleep, it was reported today.

The couple, named in reports as Barry and Amanda Harrison, in their 30s, were found inside the property in Regal Court, High Street, Shanklin, Isle of Wight at 6.27pm on Monday.

Family friend Pat Cannon, who works as a manager for the block of flats, said the children, aged three and five, were playing in the hallway when she found their father hanging from the loft.

After police were called, the woman's body was found. It is believed she may have been strangled.

Ms Cannon told The Sun: "I went round because I knew they were going through a rough patch with their marriage. I wanted to make sure they were all right.

"I knocked on their door and the elder boy opened it. Everything seemed normal. The boys were playing in the hallway.

"He said, 'Hello, Pat'. I said, 'Where are mummy and daddy?' They said, 'Mummy and daddy are asleep'. I could see the loft hatch open and some cord. I pushed the door to the room and it felt like a dead weight."

A Hampshire and Isle of Wight police spokesman said the children were now being looked after by a friend of the family.

The spokesman said: "Officers were called by a member of the public at 6.27pm (on Monday) and went to the address where a man and a woman, believed to be a married couple aged in their 30s, were pronounced dead.

"Two young children, who are believed to be the couple's sons, were inside the flat when police arrived.

"They were unharmed. Both children are now staying at a family friend's address where they are safe and well."

The spokesman said the death of the woman was being treated as "suspicious" while the death of the man was "non-suspicious".

He added: "Whilst retaining an open mind, detectives are not looking for anyone else suspected of being directly responsible for the deaths.

"The flat remains sealed off to allow for ongoing forensic examinations by specialist scenes of crime officers."

Post-mortem examinations were taking place yesterday to establish how the couple died.

Neighbour Carol Rolfe said: "It's a surprise. They were just a normal, ordinary, quiet couple.

"I was in and I didn't see or hear anything."

The police spokesman said the Isle of Wight Coroner was informed of the deaths.

He said detectives were trying to trace the couple's next of kin so the bodies could be formally identified.

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