Tragedy of couple whose dead bodies lay undetected in their home for three weeks

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The deaths of an elderly and severely disabled couple whose bodies lay undetected at home for three weeks is set to cause widespread criticism of city health and care agencies.

It is believed wheelchair-bound Mrs Valerie McLaren died first of natural causes at the Great Linford bungalow, leaving her paraplegic husband Edward helpless to fend for himself.

Now the double deaths of the devoted pair is set to cause a citywide enquiry that could make heads roll in social services and health departments.

Former launderette assistant Mrs McLaren, 72, was paraplegic herself and suffered from epilepsy and asthma.

Incredibly she was the main carer for her stroke victim husband, who also had heart problems and diabetes.

The only official help received by the couple was a visit from the district nurse once a month. Their two daughters, one of whom lives a few doors away, also have health problems and visited once or twice a month.

Police broke into the immaculately-kept property in Hills Close on May 9 after the family were concerned that phone calls were unanswered. The couple had last been seen alive on April 27.

The badly decomposed body of Mrs McLaren was found fully-clothed on her bed and the body of former Wolverton Works employee Mr McLaren, on the floor in a separate bedroom.

He had a head injury consistent with falling down after trying to climb out of bed unaided.

“He was totally dependant upon his wife. He could not walk, he was unable to speak and couldn’t look after himself unaided,” a source told the Citizen.

“Mrs McLaren was equally disabled with serious health problems. They were a fiercely independent couple but it is still a complete mystery how they slipped through the net of the authorities and were allowed to fend for themselves,” she added.

It is understood the London-born pair had refused help offered by their GP and wanted to stay in their own home. Already, after an inquest into their deaths opened this week, the city coroner’s office will be investigating why the authorities were not more persuasive.

Meanwhile Great Linford parish councillor Sam Crooks, shocked that nobody noticed the lack of activity at the bungalow, has called for more neighbourly community spirit in Milton Keynes.

“It is so important to realise the isolation in which many people live and for neighbours to keep in touch with each other and check that all is well,” he said.

The full inquest into the deaths of Mr and Mrs McLaren will be held on October 2.