A HOUSEBOUND widow has died in tragic circumstances after her brother, who was her sole carer, suddenly passed away, leaving her with no-one to look after her.
The body of Williamina Thomson, 80, was found in her home at Royal Court, Penicuik, on Monday evening, along with the body of her brother John Guthrie, 78.
It is not known how long after her brother Mrs Thomson died, but it is thought the pair could have been deceased for up to a month before their bodies were discovered.
Midlothian Council said today the two had not been known to its social care department. The pensioners, originally from Shetland, were described as “private” by shocked neighbours.
Mrs Thomson – known to neighbours as Win – had lived in the cul-de-sac for many years, and her brother had moved in more recently.
It is understood that concerns were raised about the pensioners’ welfare when their post began to jam in the letterbox.
Police are treating the deaths as medical and “unexplained”, and appealed for anyone with information to come forward.
Forensics experts continued to comb the house yesterday morning and the property’s windows and doors were later sealed off by police, while two officers guarded the scene.
Residents of Royal Court today spoke of their shock at the deaths, but said they had not seen the siblings in weeks.
One neighbour, who declined to be named, said: “Win had arthritis.
“I hadn’t seen her for a long time – I thought she was housebound. They belonged to Shetland – John stayed here but he would sometimes go up to Shetland. I thought that’s where he was.”
She said Mr Guthrie, who was a batchelor, “seemed healthy enough” but that she had not seen him “in a while”.
It is undersood he had moved to Penicuik this year to look after his sister.
She added: “It’s horrible to think about what could have happened – but you don’t want to interfere.
“It’s very tragic. It has really hit the neighbours because you feel so terrible. The police have been here since Monday night.”
A regular at the Crown Inn, which Mr Guthrie occasionally visited, added: “He did all the cooking, cleaning and looking after his sister.
“Although he was in his 70s, I think he was too proud to ask for help. They never had any help from the council. John was a fit man, although he was in his seventies. He had absolutely no health problems.”
Mrs Thomson’s husband is understood to have died several years ago and neither she nor Mr Guthrie are believed to have family in the Lothians area.
A police spokesman said officers were awaiting the results of a post-mortem examination to confirm the causes of death and could not comment on the circumstances other than it was currently unexplained.