Murder probe into death of couple

Murder on Charles Crescent in Hoghton

Murder on Charles Crescent in Hoghton

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A murder investigation was launched after the bodies of a couple were discovered within hours of each other.

Nigel and Judith Maude were described as ‘devoted grandparents’ by shocked neighbours yesterday.

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.

Mr 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, Hoghton, at around 8.45pm, they discovered the body of his wife, also in her 50s, in bed in an upstairs bedroom. She had suffered multiple injuries, including stab wounds.

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

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

Det Supt Paul Withers, from the Force Major Investigation Team, said: “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. 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 who worked at Leyland Motors, after starting his career at Barton Motors in Preston. 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 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 grew up with him. We used to play out together. He was a nice lad. I can’t believe it.”

Doreen Ronald, 79, 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.”

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