AN ELDERLY man was found dead at his home – and his wife died hours later in hospital.

Neighbours in their quiet cul-de-sac told of their shock when police suddenly filled the street on Sunday evening.

Police later revealed that a man in his seventies had been found dead and a woman, also in her seventies, found with him had died in the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton.

Peter Gander lived next door to the couple in Richington Way, Seaford, and said their names were John and Pat Johnson.

The 78-year-old said his wife Tina had been left “very upset” at the news as she was a close friend of Pat’s.

He said: “They were a very quiet, unassuming couple and kept themselves to themselves, we were the only people who knew them around here, but they were good neighbours.

“When I was in hospital in August Pat took my wife to and fro from the hospital every day, she and my wife were close.

“So she was gobsmacked when she heard the news, she is really upset.”

Peter described hearing a loud banging at about 6pm on Sunday, which he later found out was police forcing their way through his neighbour’s door.

He said: “There were a lot of police down here, I would say there were about 40 different police and ambulance people.”

Peter said he and his wife had wanted to know if their neighbours were all right but were not told what was going on by officers at the scene.

He said: “We knew them so well so we wanted to know if we could visit but the coppers said they couldn’t tell us anything.

“We only found out yesterday what happened. It’s absolutely tragic news.”

Peter said John had been diagnosed with cancer and had recently been told his condition was worsening, adding that this had “greatly upset” the couple.

A police car remained outside the couple’s house yesterday afternoon.

Other neighbours said they had been in the dark about what had happened.

Françoise Basden-Smith, 79, who also lives in the street, said: “I would pass them [the couple] in the street and say hello but it was only ever a quick hello.

“When the police were here on Sunday everybody was rushing out to see what was going on – some people seemed to know more than others.

“There must have been about ten police cars and ambulances, there was no mistaking that this was obviously something very serious.

“I asked police what they were doing in our quiet cul-de-sac and an officer said ‘we are trying to save lives’.

“Another police officer said ‘you will be safe, don’t worry’.”

Wendy Akhtar, another resident, said she woke up to a street filled with police and ambulance crews.

The 59-year-old said: “When I saw the police cars in the morning that was the first I knew of it. I used to see the lady who lived there taking her bins out.

“It’s very, very sad that she has gone. Whenever I would see her I would say hello and she would say hello back.”

A Sussex Police spokesman said they went to the house after “a report of concern for the welfare of the two occupants, both in their seventies”.

He said: “Sadly one of the occupants, a man, was found dead in the property and the other occupant, a woman, was taken to the Royal Sussex County Hospital where she died later on the same evening.

“Enquiries are continuing. The deaths are currently being treated as unexplained and police are not currently seeking anyone else in relation to this.”