FRIENDS and neighbours of a couple who died in an apparent murder suicide have spoken of their sadness.

Police were called to James and Gwen Groves' home on Saturday.

Their bodies had been found by their son James.

Mrs Groves, who had been suffering Alzheimer's disease for 18 months following a stroke, had been living in a care home in Beckenham.

Neighbours in Maybury Close, Petts Wood, say Mr Groves used to spend his days visiting the home, where he would help wash and dress his wife and give her lunch.

It is believed the 79-year-old could not bear to see his 75-year-old wife suffering and took her home where he killed her before taking an overdose.

Mrs Groves' body was found in bed while her husband was found lying between the hallway and the kitchen.

Friend and neighbour Grace Brien said: "I think it's very, very sad. It upset him to see her like that.

"He must have loved her a lot to do that. He loved her so much.

"I suppose he did it because he could not stand seeing her like that any more.

"It is a terrible thing and I cannot forget them."

Mr and Mrs Groves lived in Maybury Close for 35 years and always used to attend Mrs Brien's birthday parties at her house.

They were always the last to leave.

Mrs Brien, 81, added: "They were great fun, especially Gwen, she was lovely."

Until Mrs Groves' stroke, she used to spend a lot of time in her garden and they both used to sell poppies for the Royal British Legion.

Mr Groves ran his own building firm and had worked with his neighbour John Bresnahan 60 years ago at a timber yard in Deptford.

Despite not seeing him again until Mr Bresnahan moved into Maybury Close nine years ago, Mr Groves had not forgotten him.

Mr Bresnahan, 74, said: "He looked at me and sort of gave me a funny little grin and said I recognise your face'.

"We started reminiscing and I realised I was back with Jim again."

The deaths of his friends came as an enormous shock to Mr Bresnahan when he saw the police outside their door last Saturday afternoon.

He said: "It really upset me and I just kept thinking poor old Jim'.

"He was a very obliging man. He was the type of character if you wanted anything you could ask him.

"He will be badly missed in this area because he was a lovely character.

"When Gwen used to go out shopping I'd say hello dear' and she'd say hello Jim'."

Police are not looking for anyone else in connection with the pensioners' deaths.

The couple leave behind their son James, a granddaughter and a grandson.

An inquest was opened at Croydon Coroner's Court yesterday and adjourned to a date to be fixed.