Ex soldier and his Army veteran wife killed themselves in suicide pact at ...

Ex soldier and his Army veteran wife killed themselves in suicide pact at ...
Ex soldier and his Army veteran wife killed themselves in suicide pact at ...

An ex-soldier and his Army veteran wife killed themselves in a suicide pact a day after throwing a final party for their unsuspecting friends, an inquest has heard.

Peter McGuinness, 54, and wife Deborah, a former PA to three heads of the military, were found dead in a Land Rover at a remote beauty spot after planning it for weeks.

The devoted couple died of carbon monoxide poisoning and a suicide note found in the vehicle said 'neither of us can be without the other'. 

Mr McGuinness, who served in the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, had suffered from depression, possibly caused by PTSD after several tours of Iraq, and had talked about taking his own life before.

She was personal assistant to three consecutive heads of the Army, Generals Sir David Richards, Sir Richard Dannatt and Sir Peter Wall. 

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But Mrs McGuinnesss, who had been given the all clear from cancer just five months before her death, had no history of mental health illness.

Also found dead in the hired Land Rover was their pet cat they had taken with them from their home in Kingston upon Thames, Surrey.

Cards containing money and poignant messages to family members were also found at the scene in the car park at Durlston Country Park, near Swanage, Dorset.

Peter McGuinness, 54, and wife Deborah (pictured), a former PA to three heads of the military, were found dead in a Land Rover at a remote beauty spot after planning it for weeks

Peter McGuinness, 54, and wife Deborah (pictured), a former PA to three heads of the military, were found dead in a Land Rover at a remote beauty spot after planning it for weeks

Cards containing money and poignant messages to family members were also found at the scene in the car park at Durlston Country Park, near Swanage, Dorset

Cards containing money and poignant messages to family members were also found at the scene in the car park at Durlston Country Park, near Swanage, Dorset

The inquest heard Mr McGuinness, who served in the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, left the army in 2007 and had recent bouts of anxiety and depression which may have been triggered by PTSD.

Mrs McGuinness, 49, had discouraged him when he had questioned whether life was worth living in the past.

Their family told the Bournemouth inquest the couple had been together for 23 years and they were 'confused' by their deaths as 'they seemed so happy'.

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The hearing was told that in mid-July last year - about two weeks before their deaths - the couple started searching online for dealing with wills.

They threw a Mexican-themed fancy dress party at their home on August 1 for friends and drove to Durlston Country Park the next day.

Giving evidence, Mrs McGuinness's mother Rosemary Carlisle said: 'As a family we are so confused as to why they chose to end their lives.

'They threw a Mexican-themed party for Deb's birthday on August 1 and there was no indication about what would happen next as they were talking about going on holiday to Spain and buying a flat.'

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