Garden death couple 'were not electrocuted'

Last updated at 14:00 18 May 2007

An elderly couple found dead in their garden next to an electric lawnmower were not electrocuted, police have revealed.

South Wales Police, issuing a statement to quash the rumour, said post mortem examinations on Albert and Beatrice Banks - better known as Monty and Margaret - showed they died of natural causes.

The couple's son Stephen discovered their bodies on the lawn of their bungalow in Cyncoed, Cardiff, on Tuesday morning and alerted the ambulance service shortly before 11am.

It is believed the couple, who were both 87 and had been married for 66 years, had been there since the previous evening. A lawnmower alongside them was still switched on.

A police spokeswoman said today the exact cause of death could not be released at this stage.

But she said: "South Wales Police can confirm that the post mortem examinations following the deaths of Albert and Margaret Banks have been concluded.

"Mr and Mrs Banks both died of natural causes."

The couple's daughter, Sally Smedley, had already said she did not believe they were electrocuted.

Instead, Mrs Smedley said she thought her mother died from the shock of seeing her father dead.

She said: "Anyone involved in the scene is saying it looks as if his heart gave out because he shouldn't have been doing the lawn at his age, but that was what he was like.

"Mum was there and she was found dead on top of him with her left hand on his heart and we think the shock killed her as well."

Officers have already said there are no suspicious circumstances surrounding the deaths and they are investigating the incident at the request of the Cardiff and Vale of Glamorgan coroner, Mary Hassell.

Mrs Smedley said her parents had enjoyed a very active and fulfilling life despite both suffering with weak hearts and other disabilities in recent years.

"Having sat back, we feel it is nice they went together and it's kind of sweet. That is what is comforting us at the moment," she said.

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