A married couple described as 'soulmates' tragically took their own lives in a double suicide pact.
Cassie, 35, and Francis Collins, 36, were found dead by a family member who had become concerned for their welfare on September 11, 2021.
Police sadly discovered the couple's three dogs dead alongside the pair at their home in Station Road, Cullompton, Devon.
An inquest into their death at Exeter Coroners Court on Monday, June 5, heard the pair were 'joined at the hip' and had been together for 11 years after meeting in a call centre, Devon Live reports. Student nurse Cassie and Francis, who used to serve in the military, were said to have both struggled with their mental health and previously expressed thoughts of suicide.
The inquest was told the pair were concerned over a new police investigation into Francis, who had previously been jailed for throwing homemade fire bombs onto a neighbour's drive when they lived in Wales.
Cassie had previously been treated by NHS service Talkworks after struggling with chronic pain and feeling 'trapped in a cage'. She was discharged just one month before her death after stating she did not have any plans to take her own life.
While Francis, from Hereford, was urgently referred to the NHS mental health team after expressing suicidal thoughts and struggling with severe psychotic depression in May of the same year. Cassie's mum Deborah Coombes said her daughter further damaged an existing knee injury just before before she was due to complete her nursing training - leaving her unable to work.
The couple were also involved in a moped accident after moving to Thailand, with both injuring their backs.
Deborah said: "Since then is when her really significant pain started. She spent most of her time in bed in agony. She described it as like rubbing sand into a cut all the time."
She added: "She regularly rang in tears about being unable to cope with the pain."
Deborah was aware Cassie struggled with suicidal thoughts and believes that the culmination of pain she was in, their 'troubles' in Wales and the latest police investigation led to her death.
Mrs Coombes said: "I can 100 per cent say Francis wouldn't have killed her. They were devoted and soulmates and he said if anything happened to Cassie he would kill himself as she was everything to him."
The inquest heard that in the lead-up to their deaths, the couple had carried out a number of pre-planned actions including creating a joint will, sending letters and emails, and having two of their dogs put to sleep. Cassie's sister Jodie told the inquest she received a letter from her sibling on September 11, 2021, in which she apologised for being unable to cope with the pain she was in anymore.
She discovered the couple's bodies after gaining entry to the home and found their three dogs - a chihuahua and two miniature pinschers - also dead.
Jodie said: "Cassie had said a couple of years ago that if there were going to kill themselves they would kill the dogs as well as they wouldn't want anyone else looking after them."
Police confirmed there were no suspicious circumstances surrounding their deaths after discovering end of life notes and a video of Cassie stating plans to take her own life.
Recording a conclusion of suicide for both deaths, Alison Longhorn, area coroner for Exeter and greater Devon, said: "I am satisfied, on the balance of probabilities, both Cassie and Francis have taken their own lives and intended to do so."
Addressing their family, she said: "This is particularly tragic circumstances and I can't imagine how it has been to deal with the loss of not one but of both of them."
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