Widow took own life with overdose just days after her doctor husband's death

Andrew Robinson

A WOMAN married for 66 years took her own life with an overdose days after the death of her elderly husband.

Dr Basil Robinson and his wife Betty were described as a devoted couple by their daughter yesterday as an inquest into their deaths was held.

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The couple married within four months of meeting and worked together in Huddersfield where Dr Robinson, a GP, ran a practice from the family home.

They died five days apart in April after Mrs Robinson took an overdose soon after the death of her husband, who died peacefully in his sleep at the age of 93.

Their daughter, Helen Marshall, described them as a “very devoted couple” who did not want to live alone, having expressed a wish to die together.

Mrs Robinson had previously told her daughter that she could not live without her husband and had made plans to take her own life when her husband went, an inquest in Huddersfield heard yesterday.

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The day after Mr Robinson died from heart problems his wife was found unconscious in bed at their home in Almondbury, Huddersfield. She had taken an overdose of sleeping tablets and died five days later in hospital. She was 88.

Mrs Marshall said that her parents had wanted to go together. Her mother had discussed her plans to take her own life in the event of Dr Robinson’s death.

“Mum told me she could not live without him and said she had pills to end her own life,” she said in a statement.

Coroner Roger Whittaker ruled that Mrs Robinson had taken her own life and her husband died of natural causes.

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“It’s clear from what their daughter has told me that because they had been together so long, she could not live without her husband. That is perfectly understandable. I am glad that she was able to accomplish what she wanted.”

Mr Whittaker said in some ways it was “rather nice” that such a devoted couple should go together because “that is how they would have wished it”.

Dr Robinson retired in 1988, aged 75 but continued to work one day a week and as holiday cover until he was 80. His wife saw the surgery ran smoothly.