Ballycastle deaths 'unexplained' - Liverpool couple Kenneth and Rita Boughey lay dead in house for more than a month
Kenneth and Rita Boughey who were originally from Liverpool but have been living in Ballycastle for around ten years
The bodies of a man and woman found in a house in Ballycastle last night may have been lying there for more than a month.
Post mortem examinations are to be carried out on the bodies of the elderly couple found dead at the house in Co Antrim.
The two people were found dead in a property in the Abbey area of the north Antrim coastal town yesterday.
Police have named the married couple as Kenneth Boughey (68) and Rita Boughey (70) who were originally from Liverpool but have been living in Ballycastle for around ten years.
There was some speculation that the deaths of the couple could have been as a result of carbon monoxide poisoning but police have said at this stage the deaths are being treated as "unexplained".
It is believed that the body of the male resident was found close to the bottom of a staircase.
Police forced their way into the house, and the Fire Service was called immediately.
Readings for the carbon monoxide gas were taken but it is not known whether or not the lethal gas was detected.
A spokesman for the Northern Ireland Health and Safety Executive said they were not involved in the case at this stage. "We have not been requested to attend," he said.
A rapid response ambulance was also called to the house shortly before 9.30pm.
Police forensic officers were at the scene late last night. The house was cordoned off, although the road was still open and the area was quiet.
Police held a press conference on Friday afternoon where they appealed for anyone who had seen or spoken with the couple in the last number of weeks to contact to police.
Chief Inspector Mark McClarence said: “There has been a sense of shock and sadness in Ballycastle today and I would extend my sympathy to the family and friends of Mr and Mrs Boughey.
“The causes of the deaths have not been established and detectives are investigating the circumstances at present. At this time, the deaths are being treated as unexplained. The post mortems along with these ongoing enquiries will shape the investigation in the coming days.
“I understand that local discussion has involved possible carbon monoxide poisoning. We cannot rule that in or out as a cause of death at present.
“I would ask that anyone who saw or spoke with Mr and Mrs Boughey in the last number of weeks contact detectives on the non-emergency number 101.”
It's not known how long the man and woman had been dead before their bodies were discovered. But two sources have suggested they may have lain there for at least a month. Sinn Fein councillor Cara McShane said: "My heart goes out to the family of the deceased couple.
"I'm sure the community will rally round with all the support it can offer at this difficult time."
One man at the scene said: "It takes me back to Castlerock. It's very sad."
He was referring to the deaths of Neil McFerran and Aaron Davidson in the seaside town just a few miles along the coast.
The 18-year-old friends died of carbon monoxide poisoning after they were overcome by the deadly gas in a holiday apartment in Castlerock on August 3, 2010.
The private Abbey estate is modern, with a mix of semi-detached houses and flats occupied by couples, young families and elderly people.
It is regarded as a quiet, respectable middle-class area.
It is built on the site of a former convent connected with Cross and Passion College in the town.