Murder probe over couple’s deaths

Police on Charles Crescent in Hoghton
Police on Charles Crescent in Hoghton
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The bodies of a Leyland Motors worker and his wife were found within hours of each other over the weekend.

British Transport Police were called to a stretch of railway close to Chapel Lane, Hoghton, at around 10.55am on Sunday, following reports a person had been struck by a train.

Motors worker Nigel Maude, 58, was pronounced dead at the scene; his death is not being treated as suspicious.

But when officers visited his home in Charles Crescent, on the border of Hoghton and Higher Walton, at around 8.45pm, they discovered the body of his wife Judith Maude, 57, in bed with multiple injuries, including stab wounds, in an upstairs bedroom.

Police said Mr Maude’s death was believed to be linked to the murder case.

The house was sealed off while crime scene investigators analysed the scene, before a post-mortem examination took place to establish the cause of Mrs Maude’s death.

Detective Superintendent Paul Withers, from the Force Major Investigation Team, said: “An investigation is underway to establish the circumstances of exactly what has happened.

“We are still at the very early stages but at this moment in time we do not believe we are looking for anyone else in connection with the enquiry.”

The Maude’s next-door neighbour Cecilia Livesey, 74, said the couple had two daughters and four grandchildren - with another grandchild on the way.

She said: “They were a nice couple and they were good neighbours, who were just devoted to their grandchildren. We used to chat over the fence.

“I just feel sick - it’s not sunk in properly. The police came to speak to me and I’ve not slept all night wondering what has happened.

“I feel like I’m living in a bad dream.”

Mr Maude, a former Brownedge St Mary’s Catholic High School pupil, was a mechanic at Leyland Motors. Mrs Maude was a housewife.

A 59-year-old resident, who did not wish to be named, said they were a happy couple who loved spending time with their grandchildren and going out walking.

He said: “I’ve known him since primary school and knew Judith since I was about 15. They must have been married for 30-odd years.

“If you said ‘there is a couple who never have an argument’, I would say it’s them.

“I can’t think of a bad thing to say about either of them. They were a lovely couple. Everybody is very shocked.

“I don’t think she worked after she got married. He was a Preston North End fan.

“I believe he had not been very well. Somebody said he had been in hospital, but I don’t know.”

Another resident, a 63-year-old man, said he used to drink with Mr Maude’s father, Cyril, who previously lived in the couple’s home.

He said Mr Maude’s blue Volkswagen Touran had not been seen since Sunday morning.

David Eastham, 59, lived next-door to Mr Maude when they were both children.

He said: “I’ve lived here all my life. I grew up with him. We used to play out together. He was a nice lad.

“I can’t believe it.”

Doreen Ronald, 79, who lives further up the street, said she and her son James Ronald, 52, were shocked by the incident.

She said: “We’ve known them for a long time. He was always friendly, if they knew you were going past they would always wave.”

The couple’s family members were informed and formal identification procedures took place yesterday.

South Ribble councillor Barry Yates, who represents the area, said: “It is a shock. This is such a quiet area.

“It is not something you expect at all. This is such a close knit community, you usually get to hear about things.

“I didn’t know the couple and I don’t know the circumstances but I would like to offer condolences from myself and fellow councillor, Peter Mullineaux, to the family.”