THE man and woman whose bodies were found inside their South Tyneside home have been named locally as mother and son Elizabeth and Robert Douthwaite.
The pair were discovered inside their house in Heron Drive, South Shields, at about 12.20pm on Thursday.
A window cleaner is said to have raised the alarm after becoming concerned that a light had been on for two weeks and there were flies at the window.
Neighbours said Robert, 44, was a keen photographer, and in the 1990s was commissioned by South Shields Library to take pictures for a book comparing the town’s past and present.
The book, called South Shields Then & Now, published in 1996, revealed how the town had changed over the years, as he recreated photographs taken years earlier.
Residents in the estate off Mile End Road where they lived have paid tribute to 73-year-old Elizabeth and her son.
Robin Johnson, 71, of nearby Wellington Drive, said: “A window cleaner spotted something was wrong.
“He said a light had been on for a couple of weeks and he noticed flies up at the window.
“It is such a shame. The pair were lovely. But we all keep ourselves to ourselves, and they did the same.
“We knew them, but hadn’t seen them for a while and then we heard the news.
“Robert was a great photographer – he loved taking pictures and he was very good at it.
“He took the pictures for a book made by South Shields Library about the town.
“That was his passion, taking pictures.”
Robin’s wife, Sheila, 68, said: “They had lived in that house for 30 years or more. Her husband died a few years ago and it hit them hard.”
Retired process worker John Holt, 68, a dad-of-two, of Heron Drive, said: “They were nice people. We have all lived here for 30 years, from when the houses were first built.
“My son is younger than Robert, but they knew each other. It is such a shock.”
A neighbour, who did not want to be named, said: “Robert was a handsome young man and a good photographer and a lovely person.
“No one really bothers each other, but someone is always there if you need them. This is so sad.”
Northumbria Police are not investigating the deaths and have prepared a report for South Tyneside coroner Terence Carney, who was expected to open an inquest today.