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These are the first images of a British couple whose dream of opening a bed and breakfast in the foothills of the Pyrenees ended in tragedy when they ran out of money.
French investigators believe John Boyes, 64, strangled his wife Kathryn, 65, before hanging himself at their picturesque country home near Toulouse in southern France, which they had planned to open as a bed and breakfast.
The couple were found dead inside the property in Boudrac, a town with a population of about 130, on Sunday after concerned friends who hadn’t heard from them for days went to investigate.
It has now been revealed that the couple bought the former holiday home for around £200,000 last summer from a Dutch couple with the aim of transforming it into a bed and breakfast.
Many months and the rest of their savings were spent converting the French family’s home and latrine into guest accommodation, but the project fell short due to financial problems.
The couple seemed happy together as they worked on their home and garden together.
Neighbors greeted them as they walked their beloved dog down country lanes that criss-cross the surrounding fields.
They marveled at the traditional Christmas decorations with which the British adorned their homes.
And the French villagers welcomed the couple as best they could, despite the huge language barrier.
Cause of Death
But the strain of the failed business caused John to become violent with Kathryn before taking his own life, French investigators believe.
Local prosecutor Christophe Amunzateguy confirmed: ‘This appears to be a murder suicide case.
‘The wife has been dead for a few days and she had a noose around her neck. Wounds were also found on her body: there were signs of strangulation and beatings”.
When the gendarmes arrived later, they found John dead in a latrine.
“They found him hanged and he had left a note,” said Amunzateguy, the Saint-Gaudens prosecutor,
He added: ‘The couple had a project to open a guest house, but it was ended due to financial difficulties. There was no evidence that a third party was involved.
He added that autopsies would be performed on each of the bodies on Tuesday to confirm his cause of death.
A source close to the investigation added: “A letter found at the scene suggested the couple were in financial trouble.”
A neighbour, Yves Puissegur
A neighbour, Yves Puissegur, said: ‘The police told me that poor Kathryn was killed by her husband. She then went into a separate building and hanged herself.
The couple’s friends raised the alarm on Sunday after they called the house that afternoon to check on them and found Kathryn dead.
Mr Puissegur, a farmer, said: ‘They had been dead for several days before their bodies were found.
‘His friends of his came to the house on Sunday to see if they were okay after they were unable to reach them.
They found Kathryn on the sofa and called the gendarmes. And it was the gendarmes who found John in a separate building.
“They had been there for two or three days.
Another neighbor added: “They owed a lot of money on the house.”
John Boyes Quick and Facts
- John Boyes, 64, and wife Kathryn, 65, found dead at home in France on Sunday
- Pair had moved to village of Boudrac, in south of France, last summer after buying holiday home from its Dutch owners for £200,000
- Couple planned to convert the house into a B&B, but ran into financial difficulties
- Prosecutors now believe John killed his wife and then himself in murder-suicide