Overdose couple had 'disturbed thoughts'

A RECLUSIVE couple found dead in bed had overdosed on prescribed drugs after leaving notes which revealed their "disturbed and troubled thoughts", an inquest heard.

Buddhist converts Derek and Diane Hardcastle had cut themselves off from friends and family for several years and did not answer their door or telephone.

The married couple, of Milton Crescent, Lupset, Wakefield, had suffered serious health problems including depression.

Mr Hardcastle, 53, a former lorry driver, had undergone a kidney transplant and his wife, 46, suffered pain following an operation.

Mrs Hardcastle's sister, Sharon Hargrave, said the couple became Buddhist several years ago and "all sorts of stories" had gone around about them over the years.

One story, she said, was that the couple had once sealed doors at their home with tissue paper and left the gas on.

They awoke hours later and told family that "it must not be our time".

Mrs Hargrave said the couple became reclusive and would not answer the phone or the door and Mr Hardcastle could become aggressive.

She believed the couple took their own lives at the same time.

The couple were discovered by police after the alarm was raised by Jehovah's Witnesses who were leafleting the area and noticed a smell and flies in the window.

Neighbours had last seem the Hardcastles 10 days before their bodies were found on May 25 last year.

Post mortem examinations revealed that they had died from an overdose of three prescription drugs.

Deputy assistant coroner Mary Burke recorded narrative verdicts, saying the notes left behind showed they were "disturbed and troubled in mind and thought".

The couple had "rarely sought medical advice" and had very little contact with anyone, she added.