A CORONER’S report into the deaths of an elderly Rosebud couple late last year has described the tragic circumstances as a “common theme”.
Judge Sara Hinchey was commenting on the death of Nancy May Budge who died in an apparent murder-suicide pact with her husband, Roy, in the driveway of their Adams Av property, 4.30pm, Thursday 3 November. Both were in their mid-80s.
“It is well understood that people who have lived a full, productive and loving life, but who experience an irreversible deterioration in their physical health, can develop a determination to end their own lives, often in circumstances of desperation, loneliness and fear,” she said.
“The Coroners’ Court of Victoria investigates a number of deaths each year in which a person suffering an irreversible decline in physical health has made the decision to end their own life. Such deaths raise a number of moral and social issues, which fall outside the jurisdiction of the court.”
A neighbour found Mrs Budge dead and Mr Budge suffering life-threatening injuries from a 0.22 calibre gunshot wound. He was airlifted to The Alfred hospital but later died.
The couple were suffering from terminal illnesses and had “got their affairs in order”, before ending their lives in the car. They had dropped off their dog in their daughter’s backyard and withdrew cash for bills.
Judge Hinchey reported that experts could not determine who had fired the fatal shots because gunshot residue was on both their hands.
She said Mrs Budge, in desperation over her poor health, had previously told family members that “if doctors could not do anything to help her, she would take matters into her own hands and get dad’s gun and shoot herself because she was not going to live like this”.
Further, an ailing Mr Budge had said that “if he had to shoot [Mrs Budge] then he would have to make sure it was a good shot”.
The family “did not believe that Mr and Mrs Budge were serious regarding these statements, but [were] aware that they did not want to go on suffering as they were.”
The coroner determined that Mrs Budge had died from a single gunshot to the head.
- For support and information about suicide prevention, call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467