Ex-boss and wife found dead in 'murder suicide'.
Byline: Jon Griffin Business Staffjon.firstname.lastname@example.org
ARETIRED managing director of a former Coleshill building firm is thought to have shot his wife dead before turning the gun on himself.
The bodies of John Knott, 71, and Elizabeth, 70, known as Anne, were discovered at their home in Pow Green, a hamlet near Ledbury, in Herefordshire, on Monday morning. Mr Knott was a well-known figure in West Midland building circles as a former managing director of Ashford Construction, which was appointed main contractor on the PS15 million redevelopment of Digbeth Coach Station.
The firm ceased trading in June 2009 after piling up huge debts, temporarily stopping the coach station project in its tracks before a new contractor was appointed.
A West Mercia Police spokesman said officers were called after family members expressed concern.
Post-mortem examinations carried out by a Home Office pathologist concluded they each died of a single shotgun wound.
Detective Inspector Richard Rees said: "Police visited their home on Monday after concerns were raised by their relatives. Sadly, a search of the property found them both deceased. They each had a single shotgun wound, which the post-mortems have now confirmed were the cause of death. A shotgun registered to Mr Knott was recovered at the scene.
"At this stage of our investigation there is no evidence of any third party involvement and we can confirm we are not looking for anyone else in connection with the shootings.
"Our thoughts and condolences are with the family at this time.
"We would like to speak to anyone who saw Anne and John Knott prior to Monday August 11.
"At present, the last confirmed sighting was around midday on Saturday August 9 and if anybody has had contact with them in recent days, we urge them to come forward."
Members of the local community spoke of their shock at the deaths of Mr and Mrs Knott. Rev Nicky Seabright, vicar of Bosbury, said: "The community in Bosbury are deeply shocked by the death of this couple as they were well-known locally, not least as plant growers and supporters of many events in the village.
"We do know that Anne was suffering from a progressive illness which must have been challenging for them both. We are obviously really sorry and full of sadness about what has happened and the family are very much in our prayers."
The couple's family did not wish to speak to the media.
At the time of Mr Knott's death, he was opposing a planning application for a travellers' site close to his home.
The proposal for The Willows was to change the use of the land from agriculture to "a one-family travellers' site, with stationing of one static mobile home, two touring caravans, new access, ablution block and septic tank."
Six weeks before the couple's deaths, Mr Knott wrote a letter to the planning department at Herefordshire Council objecting to the application.
A Herefordshire Council spokeswoman said: "The planning application for The Willows near Bosbury is still going through the due process and no decision has been made at this time."
The property in Herefordshire
John Knott, who was found dead