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'Shock' as wife of former NI Secretary Paterson found dead near family home

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Rose and Owen Paterson at Hillsborough Castle

Rose and Owen Paterson at Hillsborough Castle

Rose and Owen Paterson at Hillsborough Castle

Former Northern Ireland secretary Owen Paterson has told of his "great sadness" after his wife was found dead at their family home.

Police said her body was discovered in nearby woodland.

The Conservative former cabinet minister said the loss of his wife Rose (63) had come as a "terrible shock" to the family.

"It is with great sadness that I must inform you that my wife, Rose, has been found dead at our family home in Shropshire," he said.

"Rose and I were married for 40 happy years. She was a wonderful, caring wife, mother and grandmother.

"Her death has come as a terrible shock to us all.

"I would ask the media to respect the privacy of myself and my family at this extremely difficult time."

Mrs Paterson, the daughter of the fourth Viscount Ridley, was the chair of Aintree Racecourse. The couple married in 1980 and had two sons and a daughter.

Mr Paterson, MP for North Shropshire since 1997, was Northern Ireland secretary of state between 2010 and 2012 before becoming environment secretary.

West Mercia Police said in a statement that her death was being treated as "unexplained" although it was not thought that any third party was involved.

"We can confirm the body of a woman has been found in woodland near Pant Lane in Sodylt in Ellesmere," the statement said.

Belfast Telegraph