INVESTIGATIONS are under way after an elderly couple were found dead at their home in suspicious circumstances.
The man and woman, named locally as Jim and May Stokoe, were discovered in the bedroom of their terraced house in Hylton Castle Road, Castletown, by police and paramedics yesterday afternoon.
A relation of the couple called police after becoming concerned for their welfare. Police officers sealed off the area around the home as they began investigations.
Forensic teams were at work throughout the night to try to establish how they died.
Sunderland Area Commander, chief superintendent Kay Blyth, said: “We are still in the early stages of our investigation.
“The deaths are being treated as suspicious and we have additional officers in the area both to reassure the local community and help with the investigation.”
Neighbours living close by spoke of their sadness at the deaths.
Mum-of-two Sharon Robson was a friend of Mrs Stokoe and said she was “in shock”.
“One of my daughters came in and told me about the police in the street,” said Ms Robson, 42, of nearby Ernwill Avenue.
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“They were good neighbours, really friendly people.
“I had bought a card for Mae because I knew it was her birthday coming up.
“I just can’t get over that something like this has happened in Castletown.”
The couple’s bodies were found shortly after 4pm yesterday.
Anybody with information about the deaths are being asked to contact police on the 101 non-emergency number, or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.