Tragedy as Sheffield couple and their dogs found dead at home two months after they were last heard from

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
The couple were tragically found deceased with their dogs two months after their neighbour last spoke to them.

Barrie Dunne, aged 69, and Amanda Ayres-Dunne, 49, were both found deceased in their home on Sicey Avenue in Shiregreen, Sheffield, on May 13, 2022.

Present at the inquest on October 4, in Sheffield’s Medico Legal Centre, was Mrs Ayres-Dunne's brother Paul Patrick, her sister-in-law Maurine Patrick, and her niece Clare. Outside the court, they described the couple as "loving and happy".

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Mrs Ayres-Dunne was a mother of three and was a good dancer in her younger years, taking part in many shows.

It was heard that South Yorkshire Police had first been made aware of their deaths on May 13 last year after a neighbour who had moved into the property next door had contacted Sanctuary Housing Association about a smell. 

The couple were found in their home on Sicey Avenue, ShiregreenThe couple were found in their home on Sicey Avenue, Shiregreen
The couple were found in their home on Sicey Avenue, Shiregreen

Giving evidence, Detective Sergeant Helen Critchley said officers decided to force entry where the bodies of Mr Dunne and Mrs Ayres-Dunne were found in the living room, along with their two deceased dogs.

Door-to-door enquiries were carried out by police. They spoke to a neighbour who occasionally did some shopping for the couple, and it was thought that this neighbour was the last person to speak to them, on March 15.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Det Sgt Critchley added that no neighbours had heard any barking or whimpering from the dogs, which led the force to believe that they must have all died at or around the same time. The force’s investigation could not conclude a cause of death, but that there was no involvement of a third party.

The Health and Safety Executive visited the property on July 4 to find any other potential cause of death. The boiler was not found to have a leak, and there was no recording of carbon monoxide at the time of their visit. Routine maintenance visits from Sanctuary Association Housing had also reported no faults.

It was heard that Mr Dunne and Mrs Ayres-Dunne had a top-up prepayment metre for their gas and electric. The gas was last topped up on March 17, and went off on April 6, and the electric was topped up on March 10, and went off on April 11. 

Mr Dunne, who was originally from Coventry, was unemployed at the time of his death. It was heard that he had suffered a few health conditions, including depression, COPD, and epilepsy, though he had not had a seizure in a number of years. He had a GP appointment on March 21 which he did not attend.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

A post mortem carried out by Dr Charles Wilson found that Mr Dunne was "quite significantly decomposed" which "complicated" the examination. It was found that Mr Dunne had coronary heart disease which Dr Wilson said he would have ruled as the cause of death with "no hesitation" if it were not for the circumstances. Carbon monoxide was also found in his body

Mrs Ayres-Dunne was also "significantly decomposed", but there was no disease found. A level of carbon monoxide was found in her body at at the upper end of that seen in someone who smokes.

It was not possible to determine the time of death of the couple. Dr Wilson ruled both deaths as "unascertained", stating: "There are too many unknowns here."

Steven Morley, of NCA, was asked by South Yorkshire Police to review the toxicology results of the carbon monoxide findings. He said it was "more likely that the carbon monoxide was lower at the time of death", and that "there were no other cause of death" found in toxicology findings.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Assistant coroner Natalie James recorded an open conclusion for both deaths.

Sending her condolences to the family, she said: "I’m so sorry for your loss. I hope you cherish your memories and that they give you comfort."

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.