A couple were found dead in their armchairs at their £1 million home following a suspected carbon monoxide leak.
Stephen Baxter, 61, and his wife Carol, 64, are believed to have been overcome by the deadly fumes as they relaxed together.
They were discovered by a family member on Sunday at their five-bedroom house in the yachting town of West Mersea, near Colchester in Essex.
Paramedics were called but were unable to resuscitate them.
The couple’s daughter, Ellie, 21, who raised the alarm when she turned up at the family home, said: ‘It was absolutely awful to see. I wouldn’t wish that on anyone.
Stephen Baxter, 61, and his wife Carol, 64, are believed to have been overcome by a carbon monoxide leak at their home
The couple were discovered by a family member on Sunday at their five-bedroom house in the yachting town of West Mersea, near Colchester in Essex
‘But what I keep going back to is they were sitting there together and were peaceful. There were no signs of a struggle or any pain.’
Miss Baxter, who was with her one-year-old son at the time, immediately suspected carbon monoxide poisoning and threw open the bi-fold doors at the property.
Paying tribute to her parents, she added: ‘They were very loving. Family always came first. They made sure that we always had what we needed, and then some.
‘They were extremely loved by many people. They worked hard for everything they had. Their absence will make a big impact on many people in many places.’
Mrs Baxter was managing director of Cazsplash Ltd, a bathroom accessories firm which sells bath mats designed to fit around curved or corner showers. The former adult educator came up with the idea and held the intellectual property rights.
West Mersea Yacht Club, which the couple joined in 2016 for socialising, declined to comment yesterday, although Commodore John Munns said there were plans to fly its flag at half-mast
Mrs Baxter was managing director of Cazsplash Ltd, a bathroom accessories firm which sells bath mats designed to fit around curved or corner showers
Her husband, whom she married in 2000, was a fellow director of the business, which launched 11 years ago. He was also global lead, operational risk and assurance, for multi-billion pound transnational real estate firm Jones Lang LaSalle, which was founded in the UK but has its headquarters in Chicago.
The couple had two children together, Miss Baxter and her brother, while Mrs Baxter had two more children from two previous marriages.
Their Nissan Juke car and black Jaguar, both with personalised number plates, remained parked on the driveway of their home yesterday.
A neighbour said: ‘The road outside was cordoned off with blue and white tape by police on Sunday afternoon. It looked like there had been a murder.
‘I also saw two fire engines and a gas van arrive. We later heard they had been found dead in their chairs and that it was probably down to some sort of gas leak.
‘It is just a terrible tragedy. They were a lovely couple and seemed really happy.’
Tributes were paid to Stephen and Carol Baxter by their neighbours, who said they were a ‘lovely couple’
Essex Police have confirmed there was nothing suspicious about the Baxters’ deaths and they are treating them as accidental. Officers are preparing a file for the coroner.
The police investigation is understood to be focusing on a possible leak from a faulty appliance or poor ventilation in the house. Carbon monoxide is odourless and can slowly overcome people when exposed to it.
The town hosts an annual regatta, usually in August, known as Mersea Week.
West Mersea Yacht Club, which the couple joined in 2016 for socialising, declined to comment yesterday, although Commodore John Munns said there were plans to fly its flag at half-mast.
An Essex Police spokesman said: ‘We were called by colleagues in the ambulance service to concerns for the welfare of two people on Sunday at about 1.30pm.
‘Officers arrived and, sadly, found two people aged in their 60s had died. Their deaths are being treated as unexpected but not suspicious and we are investigating the circumstances.’
East of England Ambulance Service said it despatched a number of personnel to the address but added: ‘Sadly, the patients were found deceased.’
Essex Coroner’s Office will set a date for the formal opening of an inquest after receiving the results of the post-mortem examinations, which are due to take place this week.