Royston and Glenys Smith had suffered deteriorating health since 2013, inquest hears

Bournemouth Echo: "This is the best way" - loving elderly couple who jumped to deaths left note for children, inquest hears "This is the best way" - loving elderly couple who jumped to deaths left note for children, inquest hears

A LOVING elderly couple who jumped to their deaths left a note for their children calling it “the best way”, an inquest heard.

Great-grandparents Royston and Glenys Smith, aged 91 and 88, suffered fatal injuries when they fell from their flat at Crag Head, Manor Road, Bournemouth on December 3 last year.

An inquest at Bournemouth Coroner's Court heard that the “devoted” couple had left a note saying: “Sorry boys. This is the best way. Too much pain. Love mum and dad.”

Their two sons, Michael and Richard, were at the hearing.

Michael Smith said there was no sign they intended to take their own lives.

“I understand their wish to be together, I don't understand their methodology,” he said.

“The family believe they would have fallen together. They always were and always will remain inseparable.”

He said his parents, both originally from Pontypool in Wales, had lived at Crag Head for about 20 years in good health.

However since 2013 their health had deteriorated rapidly and greatly reduced their mobility, and the family had been discussing possibly moving them into a care home together.

Mrs Smith suffered from a debilitating back injury and osteoporosis. Her husband received treatment for prostate cancer and back pain, and both endured poor eyesight.

Michael Smith said his father had once said he would throw himself from the balcony if his wife was taken into a home without him, but he thought the comment had been flippant.

Cindy Hoyle, a caretaker and cleaner for the building, said Mr Smith had recently told her they feared they were a burden on their family.

“I told him they had a wonderful family and I was sure they didn't mind,” she told the court.

“They were very much in love and didn't want to be without each other.”

Coroner Sherriff Payne recorded a verdict of suicide.

He said: “It was a committed decision they made, carried out together almost in each others' arms.”

'Don't suffer in silence- get in touch with us' 

Age UK Bournemouth's Chief Officer David Leighton said: “It is distressing to hear about people in this stage of their life feeling like this.

“This is especially sad when people feel there is no other action and take these extreme steps.

“As a society we must treat people with dignity and respect.”

Age UK Bournemouth provides a range of services to support vulnerable older people in Bournemouth and the surrounding area.

For details please call 01202 530530.

Esther Rantzen

CAMPAIGNER Esther Rantzen has spoken out to raise awareness of the plight of vulnerable elderly.

Miss Rantzen established charity Silverline to support lonely and distressed elderly people.

The charity received two calls in the wake of the deaths of Mr and Mrs Smith from local residents.

“Silverline reminds older people that they are valued - they are our silver generation, a national treasure for their life experience, memories and the contribution they have made to this country,” she said.

“I am certain that many older people in the Bournemouth area would love to spend time chatting, having conversations with people and having a laugh.”

She said: “I would like to thank the Echo for promoting the helpline. It is clear older people need an advocate.”

Call Silverline on 0800 470 8090.

"There is help and support out there"

Caterina Husbands, a counsellor at the Bournemouth Society for the Visually Impaired, said she could understand why Mr and Mrs Smith were worried about their deteriorating sight.

“Statistically, older people who are visually impaired are more likely to think about or actually commit suicide than older people with good sight,” she said.

“It turns your life upside down and inside out but there is help and support out there.

“You have to go through the grieving process because it is a loss. You are grieving the loss of your sight just as you would the loss of a friend or family member.

“At first, it's common for people to feel anger and denial but I would urge anyone in that situation to seek help.

“We have a counselling room here in Moordown or we can travel to people's homes. It doesn't have to be the end of the world.”

BSVI are on 01202 546644.

Comments (24)

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5:53pm Thu 13 Feb 14

Couchy125 says...

Bless there hearts. RIP
Bless there hearts. RIP Couchy125
  • Score: 46

6:00pm Thu 13 Feb 14

kalebmoledirt says...

The saddest story I have heard,two beautiful people with a dream. Know you will Rest in peace.
The saddest story I have heard,two beautiful people with a dream. Know you will Rest in peace. kalebmoledirt
  • Score: 44

6:55pm Thu 13 Feb 14

Controversial But True says...

I always thought, "Love your parents and don't throw them in a home!!"

As much as I believe in what I just stated, I know that no matter how matter we do love our parents, it's not that easy to care for them, especially if you're of working age with your own family too. Sadly, this is a display of unadulterated love and devotion to one another, sad yet happy that they wen't as a pair.

All in all, just so very sad and unavoidable.

RIP
I always thought, "Love your parents and don't throw them in a home!!" As much as I believe in what I just stated, I know that no matter how matter we do love our parents, it's not that easy to care for them, especially if you're of working age with your own family too. Sadly, this is a display of unadulterated love and devotion to one another, sad yet happy that they wen't as a pair. All in all, just so very sad and unavoidable. RIP Controversial But True
  • Score: 31

11:40pm Thu 13 Feb 14

Yankee1 says...

I think we should respect the wishes of the old and infirm.

They know what is best for them. Certainly not Esther Rantzen.

The prospect of a home is worse than death for those who lead an independent, self reliant life.

Create a living will. And make sure your children understand your wishes.

Hell on earth is not better than what is to come.
I think we should respect the wishes of the old and infirm. They know what is best for them. Certainly not Esther Rantzen. The prospect of a home is worse than death for those who lead an independent, self reliant life. Create a living will. And make sure your children understand your wishes. Hell on earth is not better than what is to come. Yankee1
  • Score: 27

1:21am Fri 14 Feb 14

Arjay says...

It is very sad that a couple, fearing for how they would be unable to cope with the end of their lives with any dignity, felt it necessary to jump to their deaths.
Even our near neighbours - like Belgium, Holland and Switzerland - have the decency to allow folk, finding themselves in this position, a certain and dignified option to leave this world.
In this country, a variety of 'do-gooders', religious nuts, and an out of control 'PC' brigade forced them to jump to an uncertain and probably painful death, by refusing them the option of being able to end their own lives peacefully, and without any pain.
At least they are at peace now.
And we pretend to call this country 'civilised'?......
It is very sad that a couple, fearing for how they would be unable to cope with the end of their lives with any dignity, felt it necessary to jump to their deaths. Even our near neighbours - like Belgium, Holland and Switzerland - have the decency to allow folk, finding themselves in this position, a certain and dignified option to leave this world. In this country, a variety of 'do-gooders', religious nuts, and an out of control 'PC' brigade forced them to jump to an uncertain and probably painful death, by refusing them the option of being able to end their own lives peacefully, and without any pain. At least they are at peace now. And we pretend to call this country 'civilised'?...... Arjay
  • Score: 41

6:35am Fri 14 Feb 14

hamworthygirl says...

It heartbreaking for the family im sure they would have looked after them but in real life thats not so easy. Having nursed a sick mum with cancer and even though we were determined to keep her at home we didnt get the help we needed. She then had to die in hospital which was horrible and very impersonal. We need to help families care for their loved ones, more support is needed.
It heartbreaking for the family im sure they would have looked after them but in real life thats not so easy. Having nursed a sick mum with cancer and even though we were determined to keep her at home we didnt get the help we needed. She then had to die in hospital which was horrible and very impersonal. We need to help families care for their loved ones, more support is needed. hamworthygirl
  • Score: 22

8:08am Fri 14 Feb 14

BarrHumbug says...

How terribly sad and yet in some macabre way really romantic that they wanted to go together, never be apart and were prepared to do whatever it took to make that happen. RIP to you both.
How terribly sad and yet in some macabre way really romantic that they wanted to go together, never be apart and were prepared to do whatever it took to make that happen. RIP to you both. BarrHumbug
  • Score: 14

8:16am Fri 14 Feb 14

billy bumble says...

I hope all those disgusting people who come on this board and revile old people are now thoroughly ashamed of themselves

RIP
I hope all those disgusting people who come on this board and revile old people are now thoroughly ashamed of themselves RIP billy bumble
  • Score: 1

10:24am Fri 14 Feb 14

Ayles 10 says...

What a shame in situations like this that a couple deeply in love & suffering with ill health can't escape to a different place in an effective & dignified way in each others arms. Kind thoughts go out to their family.
What a shame in situations like this that a couple deeply in love & suffering with ill health can't escape to a different place in an effective & dignified way in each others arms. Kind thoughts go out to their family. Ayles 10
  • Score: 14

2:36pm Fri 14 Feb 14

RM says...

Such a sad story. RIP Mr & Mrs Smith. Condolences to family & friends.
Such a sad story. RIP Mr & Mrs Smith. Condolences to family & friends. RM
  • Score: 6

3:43pm Fri 14 Feb 14

LisaSW says...

I feel the heartache for their family, but I do understand why they did what they did!!!! My husband and I have made a pact, we will do the same if the time came that we had to be parted through ill health once our children have their own family's!!! It's not about being lonely or depressed, it's about being so in love that dying together is better than ever being separated!!! Surely it is kinder this way than watching the one left behind due of a broken heart???
I feel the heartache for their family, but I do understand why they did what they did!!!! My husband and I have made a pact, we will do the same if the time came that we had to be parted through ill health once our children have their own family's!!! It's not about being lonely or depressed, it's about being so in love that dying together is better than ever being separated!!! Surely it is kinder this way than watching the one left behind due of a broken heart??? LisaSW
  • Score: 6

3:56pm Fri 14 Feb 14

LisaSW says...

Arjay wrote:
It is very sad that a couple, fearing for how they would be unable to cope with the end of their lives with any dignity, felt it necessary to jump to their deaths.
Even our near neighbours - like Belgium, Holland and Switzerland - have the decency to allow folk, finding themselves in this position, a certain and dignified option to leave this world.
In this country, a variety of 'do-gooders', religious nuts, and an out of control 'PC' brigade forced them to jump to an uncertain and probably painful death, by refusing them the option of being able to end their own lives peacefully, and without any pain.
At least they are at peace now.
And we pretend to call this country 'civilised'?......
Totally agree!!!!! I have had this discussion with my parents!!!! And my children!!!! One way tickets to Switzerland for us all when the time comes!!!!
[quote][p][bold]Arjay[/bold] wrote: It is very sad that a couple, fearing for how they would be unable to cope with the end of their lives with any dignity, felt it necessary to jump to their deaths. Even our near neighbours - like Belgium, Holland and Switzerland - have the decency to allow folk, finding themselves in this position, a certain and dignified option to leave this world. In this country, a variety of 'do-gooders', religious nuts, and an out of control 'PC' brigade forced them to jump to an uncertain and probably painful death, by refusing them the option of being able to end their own lives peacefully, and without any pain. At least they are at peace now. And we pretend to call this country 'civilised'?......[/p][/quote]Totally agree!!!!! I have had this discussion with my parents!!!! And my children!!!! One way tickets to Switzerland for us all when the time comes!!!! LisaSW
  • Score: 4

5:30pm Fri 14 Feb 14

sundaydriver says...

When you read stories like this - as well as being so sad it is marvellous that two people can love each other so much and for so long - their relationship is an example to all those who see and exhibit such casualness in todays relationships. I take inspiration from their relationship.
When you read stories like this - as well as being so sad it is marvellous that two people can love each other so much and for so long - their relationship is an example to all those who see and exhibit such casualness in todays relationships. I take inspiration from their relationship. sundaydriver
  • Score: 6

5:30pm Fri 14 Feb 14

O'Reilly says...

It is St Valentine's Day......and this is an example of TRUE Love that only the few are lucky to find. God Bless them.
It is St Valentine's Day......and this is an example of TRUE Love that only the few are lucky to find. God Bless them. O'Reilly
  • Score: 2

5:52pm Fri 14 Feb 14

Bob49 says...

"In this country, a variety of 'do-gooders', religious nuts, and an out of control 'PC' brigade forced them to jump to an uncertain and probably painful death, by refusing them the option of being able to end their own lives peacefully, and without any pain."

is this really the place for such an ill informed and cliche ridden rant

you have little knowledge of either of these person's true state of mind or health at that time

so why not let them rest in peace and take your grotesque nonsense elsewhere ?
"In this country, a variety of 'do-gooders', religious nuts, and an out of control 'PC' brigade forced them to jump to an uncertain and probably painful death, by refusing them the option of being able to end their own lives peacefully, and without any pain." is this really the place for such an ill informed and cliche ridden rant you have little knowledge of either of these person's true state of mind or health at that time so why not let them rest in peace and take your grotesque nonsense elsewhere ? Bob49
  • Score: -4

6:01pm Fri 14 Feb 14

Sir Beachy Head says...

LisaSW wrote:
Arjay wrote:
It is very sad that a couple, fearing for how they would be unable to cope with the end of their lives with any dignity, felt it necessary to jump to their deaths.
Even our near neighbours - like Belgium, Holland and Switzerland - have the decency to allow folk, finding themselves in this position, a certain and dignified option to leave this world.
In this country, a variety of 'do-gooders', religious nuts, and an out of control 'PC' brigade forced them to jump to an uncertain and probably painful death, by refusing them the option of being able to end their own lives peacefully, and without any pain.
At least they are at peace now.
And we pretend to call this country 'civilised'?......
Totally agree!!!!! I have had this discussion with my parents!!!! And my children!!!! One way tickets to Switzerland for us all when the time comes!!!!
That's not as easy as you may think depending on your condition you may not be allowed. It will also cost you over 10k per person. Better start saving.......
[quote][p][bold]LisaSW[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Arjay[/bold] wrote: It is very sad that a couple, fearing for how they would be unable to cope with the end of their lives with any dignity, felt it necessary to jump to their deaths. Even our near neighbours - like Belgium, Holland and Switzerland - have the decency to allow folk, finding themselves in this position, a certain and dignified option to leave this world. In this country, a variety of 'do-gooders', religious nuts, and an out of control 'PC' brigade forced them to jump to an uncertain and probably painful death, by refusing them the option of being able to end their own lives peacefully, and without any pain. At least they are at peace now. And we pretend to call this country 'civilised'?......[/p][/quote]Totally agree!!!!! I have had this discussion with my parents!!!! And my children!!!! One way tickets to Switzerland for us all when the time comes!!!![/p][/quote]That's not as easy as you may think depending on your condition you may not be allowed. It will also cost you over 10k per person. Better start saving....... Sir Beachy Head
  • Score: -5

6:30pm Fri 14 Feb 14

Sir Beachy Head says...

Anyone wanting to learn about what actually happens at dignitas should watch the documentary that was on tv about 2 years ago. If you google the following words I'm sure you'll find it on youtube or somewhere.


dignitas documentary peter smedley
Anyone wanting to learn about what actually happens at dignitas should watch the documentary that was on tv about 2 years ago. If you google the following words I'm sure you'll find it on youtube or somewhere. dignitas documentary peter smedley Sir Beachy Head
  • Score: 2

7:07pm Fri 14 Feb 14

spryte67 says...

RIP
RIP spryte67
  • Score: 2

7:23pm Fri 14 Feb 14

kalebmoledirt says...

Two people knowing nothing other than the love and values that have evolved being questions by publicity seeking celebrities on how they choose to Move on to a place where we hope they will find peace is of very little consequence.
Just a crying shame there was not as many resouses dedicated to a more fitting path to their dream.
Glenys, Royston Just know the dream will be better than you imagined x x
Two people knowing nothing other than the love and values that have evolved being questions by publicity seeking celebrities on how they choose to Move on to a place where we hope they will find peace is of very little consequence. Just a crying shame there was not as many resouses dedicated to a more fitting path to their dream. Glenys, Royston Just know the dream will be better than you imagined x x kalebmoledirt
  • Score: 1

7:42pm Fri 14 Feb 14

Arjay says...

Bob49 wrote:
"In this country, a variety of 'do-gooders', religious nuts, and an out of control 'PC' brigade forced them to jump to an uncertain and probably painful death, by refusing them the option of being able to end their own lives peacefully, and without any pain."

is this really the place for such an ill informed and cliche ridden rant

you have little knowledge of either of these person's true state of mind or health at that time

so why not let them rest in peace and take your grotesque nonsense elsewhere ?
Oh no, not you again!..... This is NOT the time and place for more of your arrogant nonsense.
My comments are not a 'cliché ridden rant', they merely reflect the views of many, many folk in this country.
I strongly suspect you belong to one of the lunatic fringe groups I mentioned.
Now that is sad......
[quote][p][bold]Bob49[/bold] wrote: "In this country, a variety of 'do-gooders', religious nuts, and an out of control 'PC' brigade forced them to jump to an uncertain and probably painful death, by refusing them the option of being able to end their own lives peacefully, and without any pain." is this really the place for such an ill informed and cliche ridden rant you have little knowledge of either of these person's true state of mind or health at that time so why not let them rest in peace and take your grotesque nonsense elsewhere ?[/p][/quote]Oh no, not you again!..... This is NOT the time and place for more of your arrogant nonsense. My comments are not a 'cliché ridden rant', they merely reflect the views of many, many folk in this country. I strongly suspect you belong to one of the lunatic fringe groups I mentioned. Now that is sad...... Arjay
  • Score: 2

8:08pm Fri 14 Feb 14

JamesBond0070 says...

While I agree that a person or persons be allowed to choose the option of voluntary euthanasia if and when they feel that they wish to leave this world
without the interference of others, especially the "do-gooders", religious nuts and the "PC" brigade, all of whom would most rightly complain most vocally if they were having their wishes overridden. I also feel that a doctor, of any level,
is not really equipped mentally because of their training, and their interpretations of the hippocratic oath, not to do any harm, to make decisions
on whether to deliberately end another person's life. And I feel most strongly
that they should not be put in that position.
Instead, we have a legal system, which in the past, used to be able to make life or death decisions, and which is still able and trusted to take final decisions on the behalf of the community. What I have in mind is that of a lawyer or solicitor, acting as a "Devil's Advocate" on the behalf of a client considering an end to their life. This person would arrange the final settling of wills, taxes, finances, contacting relatives etc., while also interpreting their client's wishes to a judge, who would then make a final decision based upon the best interests of the client. And without family or other pressure. A doctor could then perform the euthhanasia proceedure knowing that they were acting in the best interests of the person, in other words, what their oath and profession asks for.
While I agree that a person or persons be allowed to choose the option of voluntary euthanasia if and when they feel that they wish to leave this world without the interference of others, especially the "do-gooders", religious nuts and the "PC" brigade, all of whom would most rightly complain most vocally if they were having their wishes overridden. I also feel that a doctor, of any level, is not really equipped mentally because of their training, and their interpretations of the hippocratic oath, not to do any harm, to make decisions on whether to deliberately end another person's life. And I feel most strongly that they should not be put in that position. Instead, we have a legal system, which in the past, used to be able to make life or death decisions, and which is still able and trusted to take final decisions on the behalf of the community. What I have in mind is that of a lawyer or solicitor, acting as a "Devil's Advocate" on the behalf of a client considering an end to their life. This person would arrange the final settling of wills, taxes, finances, contacting relatives etc., while also interpreting their client's wishes to a judge, who would then make a final decision based upon the best interests of the client. And without family or other pressure. A doctor could then perform the euthhanasia proceedure knowing that they were acting in the best interests of the person, in other words, what their oath and profession asks for. JamesBond0070
  • Score: 2

10:27pm Fri 14 Feb 14

Bob49 says...

Arjay wrote:
Bob49 wrote:
"In this country, a variety of 'do-gooders', religious nuts, and an out of control 'PC' brigade forced them to jump to an uncertain and probably painful death, by refusing them the option of being able to end their own lives peacefully, and without any pain."

is this really the place for such an ill informed and cliche ridden rant

you have little knowledge of either of these person's true state of mind or health at that time

so why not let them rest in peace and take your grotesque nonsense elsewhere ?
Oh no, not you again!..... This is NOT the time and place for more of your arrogant nonsense.
My comments are not a 'cliché ridden rant', they merely reflect the views of many, many folk in this country.
I strongly suspect you belong to one of the lunatic fringe groups I mentioned.
Now that is sad......
What a desperately sad individual you are to use this deeply sad event to hang your rancid thoughts upon

Why not show some respect and leave them in peace
[quote][p][bold]Arjay[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Bob49[/bold] wrote: "In this country, a variety of 'do-gooders', religious nuts, and an out of control 'PC' brigade forced them to jump to an uncertain and probably painful death, by refusing them the option of being able to end their own lives peacefully, and without any pain." is this really the place for such an ill informed and cliche ridden rant you have little knowledge of either of these person's true state of mind or health at that time so why not let them rest in peace and take your grotesque nonsense elsewhere ?[/p][/quote]Oh no, not you again!..... This is NOT the time and place for more of your arrogant nonsense. My comments are not a 'cliché ridden rant', they merely reflect the views of many, many folk in this country. I strongly suspect you belong to one of the lunatic fringe groups I mentioned. Now that is sad......[/p][/quote]What a desperately sad individual you are to use this deeply sad event to hang your rancid thoughts upon Why not show some respect and leave them in peace Bob49
  • Score: 0

12:28am Sat 15 Feb 14

scrumpyjack says...

JamesBond0070 wrote:
While I agree that a person or persons be allowed to choose the option of voluntary euthanasia if and when they feel that they wish to leave this world
without the interference of others, especially the "do-gooders", religious nuts and the "PC" brigade, all of whom would most rightly complain most vocally if they were having their wishes overridden. I also feel that a doctor, of any level,
is not really equipped mentally because of their training, and their interpretations of the hippocratic oath, not to do any harm, to make decisions
on whether to deliberately end another person's life. And I feel most strongly
that they should not be put in that position.
Instead, we have a legal system, which in the past, used to be able to make life or death decisions, and which is still able and trusted to take final decisions on the behalf of the community. What I have in mind is that of a lawyer or solicitor, acting as a "Devil's Advocate" on the behalf of a client considering an end to their life. This person would arrange the final settling of wills, taxes, finances, contacting relatives etc., while also interpreting their client's wishes to a judge, who would then make a final decision based upon the best interests of the client. And without family or other pressure. A doctor could then perform the euthhanasia proceedure knowing that they were acting in the best interests of the person, in other words, what their oath and profession asks for.
Brilliant comment.

This line really made me think: 'all of whom would most rightly complain most vocally if they were having their wishes overridden'
[quote][p][bold]JamesBond0070[/bold] wrote: While I agree that a person or persons be allowed to choose the option of voluntary euthanasia if and when they feel that they wish to leave this world without the interference of others, especially the "do-gooders", religious nuts and the "PC" brigade, all of whom would most rightly complain most vocally if they were having their wishes overridden. I also feel that a doctor, of any level, is not really equipped mentally because of their training, and their interpretations of the hippocratic oath, not to do any harm, to make decisions on whether to deliberately end another person's life. And I feel most strongly that they should not be put in that position. Instead, we have a legal system, which in the past, used to be able to make life or death decisions, and which is still able and trusted to take final decisions on the behalf of the community. What I have in mind is that of a lawyer or solicitor, acting as a "Devil's Advocate" on the behalf of a client considering an end to their life. This person would arrange the final settling of wills, taxes, finances, contacting relatives etc., while also interpreting their client's wishes to a judge, who would then make a final decision based upon the best interests of the client. And without family or other pressure. A doctor could then perform the euthhanasia proceedure knowing that they were acting in the best interests of the person, in other words, what their oath and profession asks for.[/p][/quote]Brilliant comment. This line really made me think: 'all of whom would most rightly complain most vocally if they were having their wishes overridden' scrumpyjack
  • Score: 0

7:48pm Sat 15 Feb 14

pete woodley says...

The saddest story i have read for some time,it certainly makes you think.Deepest sympathy to all.
The saddest story i have read for some time,it certainly makes you think.Deepest sympathy to all. pete woodley
  • Score: 1

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