Dead couple '˜may have lain undiscovered for three weeks'

FRIENDS of a married couple found dead together in their home fear they may have lain undiscovered for as long as three weeks.

The building in which the couple were found. Picture: Neil Hanna

Mystery surrounds the deaths of inseparable Walter and Margaret Broadbent, whose bodies were found in their Sighthill flat in the early hours of Sunday.

Neighbours told how “proper gentleman” Walter, 72, took care of ill Margaret, 60 – carrying their shopping and helping her get about.

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But the former soldier fell down the steps outside their third-floor flat shortly after Christmas, fracturing his shoulder and splitting his head open.

Margaret is then thought to have had a fall of her own at home a few days later and was also taken to hospital.

The devoted pair were released in January.

“They were never apart and were a lovely couple,” said Andrew McCracken, 71, who had known Walter for 35 years.

“If one of them died then I reckon the other one would’ve died from a broken heart – thinking how they couldn’t survive without the other. They were like Romeo and Juliet.”

Neighbour Linda Brown’s son, Mark, raised the alarm after they realised they had not seen Margaret or Walter for a couple of months.

Linda, 60, said: “My son said the young policeman went in the flat and was clearly upset when he came out, with tears in his eyes.

“Walter was a lovely man with a posh accent – he would always ask me if I needed anything to just ask any time. He was brilliant. He used to play golf with my ex-husband.”

Walter is understood to have worked as a security guard at PC World in Corstorphine after leaving the army.

The couple, believed to have been married for 17 years, would do their weekly shop at nearby Westside Plaza before nipping in to the Westsider pub on the way home.

Regulars reported last seeing them at their usual table two or three weeks ago, with Walter looking frail.

“They were always together,” said Mr McCracken. “They loved each other.”

Walter’s daughter from a previous relationship, who lives in Aviemore, is understood to be returning from a holiday after being told of his death.

A Police Scotland spokesman confirmed officers went to the flat following “a report of concern for the occupants”.

He added: “After entering the property, the bodies of a 72-year-old man and 60-year-old woman were found within.”

Post-mortem examinations and toxicology tests will be carried out in an effort to find the cause of death.

The spokesman said: “Inquiries into their deaths are ongoing, however there appear to be no suspicious circumstances and a report will be sent to the procurator-fiscal.”

The Evening News reported on Tuesday how a 73-year-old man’s body was found in his Northfield flat up to two months after he died.