Devon: Couple wrote ‘DNR’ on foreheads before taking their own lives


Peter Norris, 75, and his retired teacher wife Marguerite, 74, were found dead in separate bedrooms at their detached home in Modbury, Ivybridge, Devon on April 8 last year.

An inquest was held into the deaths at Plymouth Coroner’s Court this week (Picture: George Salmon/Google)

An elderly couple was found dead at their farm in Devon after taking their own lives in a heartbreaking suicide pact.

The bodies of Peter Norris, 75, and his wife Marguerite, 74, were found at their home in the village of Modbury on April 8 last year.

The letters ‘DNR’ had been written on each of their foreheads – the abbreviated term for Do Not Resuscitate.

Concerned neighbours raised the alarm after they failed to see any sign of the couple for a week.

Letters were found by responding officers alongside the bodies of Mr Norris, a retired company director, and Mrs Norris, a former teacher.

They had left ‘detailed instructions’ on updated wills and on how to operate the automated light and heating.

Evidence from the Norris’s GP, as well as the post-mortem examination, revealed both pensioners were in poor health.


Peter Norris, 75, and his retired teacher wife Marguerite, 74, were found dead in separate bedrooms at their detached home in Modbury, Ivybridge, Devon on April 8 last year.

The couple were found dead in separate rooms (Picture credits: Plymouth Live/BPM Media)

Mr Norris had suffered two strokes and had coronary artery disease, chronic renal disease and obstructed neuropathy.

His wife had serious heart disease and chronic kidney disease.

Police investigator Keeley Topham told Plymouth, Torbay and South Devon Coroner’s Court the bodies had been discovered in separate bedrooms.

She said: ‘Both the male and female had ‘DNR’ written on their foreheads but (there were) no other suspicious circumstances.

‘On a desk were documents containing their updated will and various other bits of paperwork of matters that would require attention after their deaths.

‘On a table in the sitting room was a clipboard with instructions for the automated light and heating along with instructions about keeping the curtains drawn to prevent the furniture fading.

‘Later on, I spoke to the solicitor and they had received a letter from the couple which had basically explained, “Our lives, our choice”.’

Toxicology tests carried out on the couple found they both died as a result of drug overdoses of prescribed medication.

On Monday senior coroner Ian Arrow recorded conclusions that Mr and Mrs Norris had sadly taken their own lives.



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