A playgroup owner was shot dead by her husband before he turned the gun on himself.

Alita Knott, 47, and her husband Julian Knott, 45, were found dead in their home on Sunday after what authorities have described as a murder-suicide.

Mrs Knott was the owner of Quayside Tots Playgroup which runs from Quayside Youth Centre in Upper Kingston Lane, Southwick.

A statement published on the playgroup’s website said: “Unfortunately we have received the news today that the owner of Quayside Tots Playgroup, Alita, and her husband have passed away.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with their family and friends.

“For legal reasons the playgroup will now not reopen until further notice.”

The couple’s daughter Kayleigh took to social media to grieve as she posted a picture of her parents on Instagram and wrote: “Although I am heartbroken that they will never see me graduate college, will never be there to see me get married or to be grandparents for my children, I can still have my inner peace knowing that they are now stress free in a much better place.

"You never know what life is going to throw at you, but it is all part of a plan that is bigger than us all.

“Now it's just me, my brothers, and betsy [sic], and we will be just fine with our angels watching over us."

Mr and Mrs Knott were found in Log Road in the Lake Hopatcong section of Jefferson Township, New Jersey.

The couple had a home in the US and travelled the world through work.

The Morris County Prosecutor's Office and Jefferson Police said in a joint statement that a preliminary investigation shows both died of gunshot wounds and that there was no evidence of outside intrusion.

A press release issued by Jefferson Police described how they believed Mr Knott had shot his wife multiple times before taking his own life with the same weapon.

Leave your tributes to Mrs Knott below or contact gareth.davies@theargus.co.uk.