MYSTERY surrounds the death of a husband and wife whose bodies were discovered at their home on the Cheshire/Flintshire border.

The couple, named by police last night as Paul and Jean Laithwaite, were found dead by officers in their property on Deeside Lane, Sealand, at 5.45 on Sunday evening.

A spokesman for North Wales Police said the deaths were being treated as “unexplained” and an investigation has been launched.

It is believed businessman Mr Laithwaite, 64 and his 65-year-old wife bought their home, called Deeside House, more than 20 years ago.

Forensic teams were combing the house yesterday which remains under police cordon.

Post-mortem examinations will be carried out by a Home Office pathologist and inquests into the deaths are expected to be opened soon.

Neighbours told the Leader Mr Laithwaite had converted the property and its land into a housing complex made up of several cottages.

One woman, who asked not to be named, said: “My husband knew of them, as he has lived in this area of Sealand for many years.

“It’s very, very sad. I have never heard of anything like this happening in the area before. It’s quite shocking.”

It is believed Mr and Mrs Laithwaite had three sons who live nearby and helped their father with property developing .

It is understood the couple also ran Deefab, a specialist vehicle lining company based on Deeside Industrial Estate.

Sealand councillor Christine Jones said: “I am absolutely devastated. I can’t believe it.

“They were really, really nice people. They were very private and kept themselves to themselves.

“It’s been an awful day.”

Another nearby resident said: “We used to see them out socially sometimes. They were really nice people.

“Mr Laithwaite was a really nice man and was very, very helpful.

“We used to see them sometimes at functions and at church. It’s very sad.”

The Rev Brian Harris from All Saints Parish Church in neighbouring Saughall said: “I only really met them two or three times in the last couple of months.

“They came to my church a week ago because there was no service at St Bartholemew’s in Sealand which is where they usually go. This is obviously very tragic and my sympathies go out to the family.

“They were a very nice respectable couple and were respected within the church and the entire community.”

A statement issued on behalf of the family said: “This is an extremely difficult time and we would like to extend our thanks to all for the sympathy and support we have received.”

The family have asked that their privacy be respected at this sad time.