An elderly woman starved to death after her husband, who fed and cared for her, died inside their Palm Beach mansion on the northern beaches.
The couple, aged in their 80s, described as lifelong partners and fiercely independent are believed to have been dead for two or three weeks before police were contacted by concerned friends who hadn't heard from them.
Their bodies were found inside the multi-million dollar home yesterday morning in Bynya Rd, one of Sydney's most exclusive addresses. Northern Beaches Police Commander Detective Superintendent Dave Darcy said their deaths moved him to make a plea to the community to look out for their neighbours, irrespective of their personal wealth or address.
"A fiercely independent elderly couple have been found dead in their home at Palm Beach earlier today," he said.
"Both in their eighties, the husband was the carer for his lifelong partner, who was blind and had other disabilities.
"The couple consistently refused aged care assistance and medical support but were coping with their challenges. Closest next of kin lived overseas."
Neighbours said the couple mainly kept to themselves, and in previous years had seen them walking around the streets.
"They kept to themselves pretty much, it's pretty sad," one said.
Autopsies will be carried out on the couple but police are certain there were no suspicious circumstances.
"We believe the husband has passed away naturally, unfortunately leaving the wife with no means of support. She has subsequently died due to a lack of care," Supt Darcy said.
"This is an opportunity to reflect on this tragedy and think about our elderly parents and neighbours and what we can do as a community and as individuals to prevent a recurrence of this terrible event."
He said people should not hesitate to contact police if they have concerns about their neighbours.
"Knock on their door or give us a ring. We are more than happy to check on the welfare of the elderly. You can also contact the Elder Abuse Hotline if you feel someone isn't getting the appropriate level of care."
Where to get help
If you are worried about an elderly person, contact Age Concern:
Telephone 0800 32 668 65