Yacht thieves may have starved at sea

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The Independent Online

A fugitive couple who fled Britain after living a "champagne lifestyle" beyond their means were found dead on board a stolen yacht off the west African coast, an inquest has heard.

Sharon Arthurs-Chegini, 46, and Peter Clarke, 49, were wanted by police over the theft of a yacht from Falmouth, Cornwall, in 2005. Their badly decomposed bodies were found in 2006 on board a vessel stolen from Portugal that was drifting off the coast of Senegal.

The inquest, in Truro, heard the couple may have starved to death as the bodies were severely emaciated and there were no provisions or fresh water on board.

A diary entry from Ms Arthurs-Chegini from June 2006 described how Mr Clarke would not move from his bed and she had little water.

West African police said they could have been killed by pirates but post-mortem examinations found no internal or external injuries.

It was believed Ms Arthurs-Chegini from Falmouth and Mr Clarke of Penryn had been dead for some time when fishermen found the boat which could have been drifting "for several months".