Couple in chemical suicide pact named

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The Independent Online

Police investigating the deaths of a man and a woman in an apparent chemical suicide pact named them today.

The bodies of Stephen Lumb, 35, from Sowerby Bridge, West Yorkshire, and Joanne Lee, 34, from Great Notley, near Braintree, Essex, were found in a car parked near an industrial estate yesterday.

Computer-printed notices had been placed on the windows of the navy blue Vauxhall Astra warning there were toxic chemicals inside and that any passers-by should not open the doors.

Essex Police said the deaths near the Braintree Enterprise Centre were "highly unusual" and confirmed that "noxious" substances had been found inside the vehicle.

The force is investigating the incident and is treating the deaths as unexplained. The car has been taken to a secure compound.

Essex County Fire and Rescue Service said it is thought the chemical involved is hydrogen sulphide, a highly poisonous gas. Firefighters had to wear gas-tight suits to remove the couple from the car.