A SMALL country village has been left in shock after two of its well-known residents were found dead after an apparent murder-suicide or suicide pact.
John Knott, aged 71 and his 70-year-old wife Elizabeth, known as Anne, died at their home in Pow Green, between Bosbury and Cradley, over the weekend, each from single gunshot wounds.
Police say they are not looking for anyone else in connection with their deaths and have confirmed that a shot gun belonging to Mr Knott was recovered at the scene.
It is believed that Mrs Knott was suffering from Alzheimer’s and was quite ill.
The couple, who had not been seen since noon on Saturday, were found at their home on Monday after relatives became concerned.
Yesterday villagers paid tribute to the ‘lovely’ couple, who had moved to their 300-year-old Forge Cottage from Droitwich.
One neighbour paid tribute to the couple.
“They were obviously a very devoted couple,” said the woman who did not wish to be named.
“We didn’t know them for very long as we only moved here nine months ago but they were always very friendly.
“They had a supportive family.”
Mr Knott, a retired director of a Birmingham construction company, had been fighting a planning application for a gypsy settlement near his home.
“The gypsies down thethe road had troubled John for some time,” said the neighbour.
“They had applied for planning permission for a residency but both John and I were against this.
“There were lots of objections.”
Peter and Lyn Hodgkiss, who own The Butchery, in Cradley, said John Mr Knott was always happy when he visited them for his shopping.
Mr Hodgkiss said: “He was a lovely man, they were a lovely couple, that used to come in and buy things from us. We are in total shock. If you saw him he was so happy all the time.”
Mrs Hodgkiss added: “His wife had Alzheimer’s and he was fighting the gypsies near his house and it must have got to be too much for him.
“He always used to come in and give us a nice order and he used to come in all happy and ask how out son is and I could only say good things about him. He was lovely.
“It’s hit us hard.”
Despite being relatively new to the village, the Knotts had become pillars of the community – always seen at local events and keen to get involved.
A close friend, who did not wish to be named, said: “They were a lovely couple, always willing to help other people. She had been poorly, very poorly, on several fronts.
“We are all very sad and shall miss them. It is an awful tragedy, and shocking.”
Mr and Mrs Knott are believed to have had one grown-up daughter, who lives outside the area.
Since retiring to the Bosbury area several years ago, Mr Knott had become a popular member of the Bosbury Parish Hall Committee, right at the heart of village life.
Fellow committee member, Liz Clutterbuck said: “John was a member of the committee, before his wife became poorly. He was also a member of the walking group and got involved with collating the church magazine.”
Mrs Clutterbuck added: “He was an absolutely super man, full of fun. Anne, I didn’t know so well; but she joined in with events. I believe she was suffering with dementia.”
Another Parish Hall Committee member, Liz Cooke said: “They were a very pleasant couple, and I saw them at village events, such as the farmers’ markets and the curry evenings.
“This is devastating news. I am absolutely shocked. I can’t believe it.”
She added: “He was just lovely and keen to get involved. She was a very nice lady – always chatty.
"She helped out at events and also got involved. I knew she was unwell, suffering from dementia.”
Bosbury Vicar, the Revd Nicky Seabright said the couple were very well known and the community was “deeply shocked”.
She said: “They were well known locally, not least as plant growers and supporters of many events in the village. We do know that Anne was suffering from a progressive illness which must have been challenging for them both.
“We are obviously really sorry and full of sadness about what has happened and the family are very much in our prayers. As a community we will need to come together and support each other.
"The church is always open for those who would like some space for reflection and I am encouraging local people to drop in at any time if they want to.”
Police officers were called to the home at around 9.30am on Monday following reports of a shooting, and they discovered two bodies.
Detective Inspector Richard Rees of Hereford CID said: “Police visited the Knott’s home on Monday after concerns were raised by their relatives. Sadly, a search of the property found them both deceased. They each had a single shotgun wound, which the post mortems have now confirmed were the cause of death.”
He added that there was nothing to suggest a third party had been involved and that police were not looking for anyone else in connection with the shootings.
Police would like to speak to anyone who saw Mr and Mrs Knott prior to Monday as the last confirmed sighting was at about midday on Saturday.
Herefordshire CID can be contacted via the non-emergency police number 101 or information can be passed on anonymously through Crimestoppers by calling 0800 555 111 or via crimestoppers-uk.org.