Four children have been orphaned after their parents plunged to their deaths in near-identical tragedies days apart while on holiday in Morocco.
Mathilde Lamb, 44, known as Tilly, died after she fell from the third floor of a rented apartment in the port city of Essaouira last week. On Sunday night, her husband Roger, 47, fell from a balcony at the nearby five-star Sofitel Hotel and died in hospital. Mrs Lamb's brother-in-law, Mark Rogerson, said the couple's four sons, aged between nine and 16, were now back in the UK and being looked after by relatives.
Mr Rogerson added: "Roger and Tilly's families have been deeply shocked and saddened by their tragic deaths. Our principal concern at the moment is to provide love and support to their sons who have had to suffer the loss of a mother and a father in swift succession." Yesterday, family and neighbours described the Lambs as pillars of their community, the picturesque village of Pensham in Worcestershire's Vale of Evesham. They said they were shocked and at a loss to explain the double tragedy.
Police have yet to confirm whether they are treating the incidents as accident or suicide.
The couple were childhood sweet-hearts and went to the same school in Cirencester, Gloucestershire. They married in 1992. A friend said there was no indication that there had been marital problems. Mr Lamb, who studied at Birmingham University, was a geotechnical engineer and had recently begun working in Christchurch, New Zealand. The family had been discussing moving to join him.
He was described as a keen horseman who hunted and enjoyed running and painting. Mrs Lamb was chair of her children's school's parent-teacher association and ran a B&B at the family's £850,000 farmhouse.
Workers at Mr Lamb's engineering company, GHD, in Christchurch, had been told originally that he died from injuries trying to rescue his wife after she fell from a cliff while out walking. Chrissy Jenkins, said: "He was a bloke who always had a smile, a joke and saying, 'Here, let me give you a hand there'. He was really nice."
Prayers were said in the village church for the couple on Sunday. Reverend Terry Henderson, rector for Great Comberton, said he had been comforting Mrs Lamb's elderly mother. He added: "In a small rural community like this, when news like that is suddenly made known, the community, because they know the couple so well through the school, are traumatised by it."