Jan and Julia Tshabalala, a Billingshurst, West Sussex, UK couple killed themselves in a Christmas suicide pact hours after finishing Christmas dinner because they were too broke and unable to pay off insurmountable debts.
Prior to having their Christmas meal at the family home on Christmas eve, the couple sent their two disabled children to stay with relatives.
It would be only when family members sought to return the children with their parents that they would discover the couple’s suicide the following morning.
The husband’s body could be seen hanging from outside a living room window whilst the wife’s dead body was also seen.
Neighbors said they had seemed to be a ‘nice happy family’. The couple’s daughter, Serena, had cerebral palsy, while their son, Junior, had learning difficulties.
According to a report via the UK’s dailymail, the couple’s children, thought to be aged between four and seven attended a local school specializing in learning difficulties.
Offered a next door neighbor who wished not to be named: ‘They were very nice people,’
‘We used to receive Christmas cards from them. They were a very private couple, but we would always speak to them over the fence. They always seemed like a happy couple, but you never really know do you?’.
Residents said that the situation was ‘absolutely awful’. There were rumors the couple had been in financial trouble, although friends dismissed the idea.
Offered one neighbor: ‘I’d see the man in his front garden sometimes and he would wave. She was a good mother, I would see her at the swings in the park with her kids. They were completely normal and pleasant.’
Another said: ‘I last saw Julia on Christmas Eve and she seemed happy. Julia didn’t work and just looked after the kids. The little girl has cerebral palsy – she’s a lovely little girl, very quiet. And the boy has learning difficulties too. But she never said she was struggling.’
A third said: ‘I was the one who got in and found them. It’s been a real shock.’
Another said: ‘I heard from other neighbours that they had financial worries. I am in absolute shock and how tragic for the children.’
Sussex Police have since told post-mortem examinations will be carried out.
Police sealed off the house but declined to reveal if suicide notes had been found, saying: ‘Officers are working to establish the circumstances of the death but are not looking for anyone else in connection with this incident.’
Sussex Police have since told post-mortem examinations will be carried out which will determine the exact nature of the couple’s deaths.