THE owners of a South Holland care home told of their “great sorrow” in a letter announcing its closure written just hours before they were found dead in an apparent double suicide.
The bodies of Jaswant and Isabel Beeharry, who owned Maria-Helena Care in Dawsmere and another home in Terrington St Clement in Norfolk, were discovered in the back seat of their black BMW in a lane near March in Cambridgeshire on Saturday.
There had been a small fire in the car. The deaths are not being treated as suspicious.
Relatives first heard of the closure of the home in Dawsmere Road in a letter received on Monday. Guy Erwood, whose mother Janet (84) has dementia, said he believes it was posted on Friday or Saturday.
The letter was signed on behalf of Mr and Mrs Beeharry and informed him the home would close on Sunday, July 8, and new accommodation would have to be found for his mother and the other 17 county council-funded residents and six self-funders who live there.
Having room for 33 residents, the home blamed closure on “low occupancy”.
The letter said: “Continued low occupancy levels, reduced council placements and cost of utilities and staff wages have forced us to close the home.
“It is causing us great sorrow because we are aware of the impact it will have on our residents, relatives and staff.”
Mr Erwood (65), of Old Main Road, Fleet Hargate, said he was devasted to hear of the death of the owners of the home.
He said: “It’s a tragedy – it was a well-run home and since Mr and Mrs Beeharry took it over about three or four years ago they have spent a lot of money on it.”
When he received the letter on Monday, his immediate concern was for the effect the upheaval would have on his mother and the other residents.
He said: “It is a well-known fact that such upheaval for the elderly can result in death.
“I am not angry at the home – I blame Lincolnshire County Council for a change in policy to keep the elderly in their own homes rather than put them in residential care.
“If the actions of Lincolnshire County Council have in any way triggered this tragedy and anything happens to my mother, I will spend the rest of my life devoted to making them pay.”
Glen Garrod, assistant director for adult social care at Lincolnshire County Council, said: “Our deepest sympathies are with the family and friends of Mr and Mrs Beeharry at this tragic time. We will, of course, assist police and the coroner’s office with their investigations in any way we possibly can.
“Our priority now is, and remains, the home’s residents. We’re working closely with the Maria-Helena Care Home staff to ensure all residents and their families receive as much support and reassurance as we’re able to give in this very difficult situation.”