A BRITISH couple found dead at a rural home in the south of France next to a haunting note reportedly died in an apparent murder-suicide after facing financial difficulties.
The lifeless bodies of the pair, who had reportedly lived in France for 10 years, were found at the property in Boudrac, in the foothills of the Pyrenees, south of Toulouse on Sunday afternoon.
Friends of the couple had visited the house after not hearing from them for at least three days.
When they arrived at their home – which was due to be turned into a bed and breakfast guest house – they found the lifeless body of a 65-year-old woman.
Police later found the woman's husband, 64, dead in an outhouse.
According to France Bleu, the woman, from Barnsley, died after being hit in the head and strangled in the living room before the man, from Tunbridge Wells, hanged himself.
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"She has been dead for some days and had a rope around her neck," local prosecutor Christophe Amunzateguy said.
"Wounds were also found on her body – there were signs of strangulation and blows."
"He was found hanged, and had left a note," Mr Amunzateguy added.
"The couple had a project to open a guesthouse but it was ended because of financial difficulties.
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"One would have put an end to the days of the other, before committing suicide."
The note allegedly referred to these financial difficulties.
He confirmed a murder investigation had been opened, adding that autopsies would be performed on each of the bodies on Tuesday, to try and establish the cause of death.
Police said there was currently no evidence of anyone else involved in the deaths.
The couple had bought their house in Boudrac – a tiny village of just 130 people 54 miles southwest of Toulouse – early last year, and wanted to turn it into a bed and breakfast.
Before settling in Boudrac, the British pair reportedly lived in Hautes-Pyrénées.
The local prosecutor said the couple were not known to the police.
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A Foreign and Commonwealth Office spokesperson said: "Our consular staff are available to support British nationals 24/7.
"We have nothing further to add at this stage."
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