'Devoted' husband shoots terminally ill wife before turning gun on himself

Retired businessman had opposed a planning application for a settled traveller site on nearby land

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The Independent Online

A retired businessman and “devoted” husband is believed to have killed himself and his terminally-ill wife, as police announced they were not looking for anyone else in connection with the incident. Some neighbours suggested the tragedy may have happened after the stress of battling a planning application for a settled travellers’ site next to their Herefordshire home became too much.

John Knott, 71, and his wife Anne, 70, who had Alzheimer’s, were found by lying together alongside the weapon, each with a single gunshot wound, after family members raised the alarm on Monday.

It is believed the stress of fighting the extension of the travellers’ camp, next to the couples’ picturesque home near Bosbury in Herefordshire, alongside caring for his wife, became “just too much” for Mr Knott.

A shotgun registered to Mr Knott was recovered at the scene, with Detective Inspector Richard Rees of Herefordshire CID stating: “At this stage of our investigation there is no evidence of any third part involvement and we can confirm we are not looking for anyone else in connection with the shootings.”

Mr Knott had spent months attempting to prevent more gypsies moving permanently into the field next to his cottage, bought after he retired, after permission was granted for more families to move permanently into the field.

Speaking to the Western Daily Press one of Mr Knott’s neighbours commented: "He was very concerned about having a gypsy camp next door at the same time as caring for his wife so perhaps the combination proved too much.

"The last time I saw him he said he was under a lot of stress.”

Many of the Knotts' neighbours expressed shock at events, calling the couple “pillars of the community”, and expressing their sadness for the events.

“They were absolutely lovely,” said one neighbour. “They were sweet, devoted to each other, and very much in love. It’s an absolute tragedy.”

“He was lovely, a very clever guy. He was still full of beans and had so much to give. I knew he was very stressed about the travellers, but I could never have believed that this would happen.”