Couple found dead in Tenerife named

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The Independent Online

A British couple found dead at their home in Tenerife were named by the Foreign Office today.

The bodies of James Mutch, 57, and Beatrice Sallens, 69, were discovered in an apartment in the resort of Playa de Las Americas.

Post-mortem examinations were being carried out on the couple, who originally lived in Glasgow.

Spanish police broke into the apartment yesterday morning after neighbours noticed a smell coming from the property at the the Residencial Los Cardones complex.

Detectives believe the pair may have died of natural causes, according to local press.

News website Island Connections said Mr Mutch, who reportedly suffered from a serious illness, might have died after falling and striking his head against a table in the sitting room.

The couple are thought to have been living in Tenerife for around five years.

Sheila Collis, deputy editor of Island Connections, was at the scene today.

She said: "The police have confirmed there were no signs of violence on either of the bodies. The man had a head injury but the theory is that he has fallen and struck his head and that is how he has died.

"The woman was found in her bed.

"The initial reaction among locals was fear because when the man's body was removed quite a lot of blood was seen but word has got round that it is believed it was not a violent attack and that seems to have calmed them down."

She said the couple rented from another British couple.

"From what friends and members of staff in the complex said they seemed to be a quiet, affectionate couple, very courteous," she added.

"They seemed to be a respected couple who were good neighbours and no trouble to anyone."

She said Mr Mutch was believed to have two sisters and a mother in the UK while Ms Sallens was thought to have a brother in Bulgaria.

Former neighbours of Ms Sallens in Glasgow spoke of a "happy, outgoing" woman with a strong belief in God.

She and her partner had moved to Tenerife four years ago, but continued to visit the city on occasions.

Speaking outside the tenement block on Glasgow's southside, Valerie McGowan, 62, said: "She was a very good neighbour, very reliable.

"She was very houseproud and her garden was always tidy.

"She was a good, happy person."

Ms McGowan said the couple had planned to start a new life in Tenerife "to get away" from Glasgow.

She said Mr Mutch had moved first, with Beatrice following later.

"They had been together a long time," she added. "I liked Jimmy a lot as well."

Another neighbour, who didn't want to be named, said of Ms Sallens: "She was a very religious Catholic."

Local police on the island said they believed the couple may have died as early as September 8.

A spokeswoman said: "We think they died of natural causes and that nothing strange happened.

"But we have to investigate everything and we are still waiting for the results of the post-mortem examinations to confirm what happened."

There were no signs at the couple's apartment that anything out of the ordinary had occurred though, she added.

"The apartment was ok, there was nothing strange there," she said.

"Police went there after neighbours called us yesterday morning saying they could smell something coming from it.

"We are not looking for anyone in connection with the deaths."