Family's devastation at double death

JOANNE Coombs' grief-stricken father told of his pain today over the deaths of his daughter and granddaughter in separate rail tragedies just weeks apart.

JOANNE Coombs' grief-stricken father told of his pain today over the deaths of his daughter and granddaughter in separate rail tragedies just weeks apart.

Looking gaunt and overwhelmed with sadness at his Harwich home, Peter Clackett said he and his wife Wendy had been left devastated by the death of 40-year-old Mrs Coombs' on Tuesday - on the same section of track where their 17-year-old granddaughter Natasha was found dead last month.

Mr Clackett, who offered his life savings in return for information about Natasha after she went missing following a night out in Ipswich, said: “There is just so much grief in the house at the moment.”

His comments come on the day The Evening Star urges all its readers to send their messages of support to Gary Coombs, Joanne's husband and father to Natasha, who today is struggling to come to terms with the tragedy.


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It also emerged that the couple had had another baby daughter Emma when they lived in Canada, who was still born and would have been a younger sister for Natasha.

Mrs Coombs' body was found on Tuesday evening on the railway line near Manningtree station, close to where Natasha died.

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Mr Coombs had raced to the section of track where his daughter died as he made a frantic search for his wife only to find police sealing off the scene after the discovery of a woman's body.

He today described his wife as “the greatest person anyone could wish to be with” as he battled to come to terms with the third tragedy for the family.

In a moving tribute left at the site where both Natasha and were killed, a devastated Mr Coombs, 48, told of his hopes that his “darling wife” was now with Natasha and her younger sister Emma.

As he battled to come to terms with the loss of his daughter and his wife, Mr Coombs, of Fronks Road, Dovercourt, left a message to Mrs Coombs with flowers at the scene which said: “My darling wife Joanne, please be at peace with our dear Natasha and Emma.

“Life will never ever be the same.

“You have been the greatest person anyone could wish to be with. Until we meet again, always yours Gary.”

Messages of support flooded in for Mr Coombs, 48, who was being comforted by friends and relatives.

It is thought the mergers and acquisitions manager with insurance firm Norwich Union went to the site of Natasha's death on Tuesday after becoming concerned after his wife left the house.

British Transport Police said that shortly before 8.30pm on Tuesday the driver of the 7pm Liverpool Street to Norwich service reported a possible track fault. A subsequent inspection of the track led to the discovery of Mrs Coombs' body.

The death is not being treated as suspicious.

A friend of the family told a national newspaper: “He arrived at the same time as the police, who had been alerted to a body on the line by a passing freight train driver. As soon as Gary saw the police he knew something terrible had happened.”

The source said: “Gary was destroyed by the realisation of what Joanne had done.”

Would you like to pay a tribute to Mrs Coombs or send a message of support to Mr Coombs? Visit www.eveningstar.co.uk or e-mail starnews@eveningstar.co.uk.

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