A young couple found dead in a Shenley wood “lived, died and were buried together”, an inquest heard today (Monday, March 13).
The bodies of Charlie Eccleston, 19, of Borehamwood, and Zaiga Gravenieks, 20, of Harpenden, were found by a police dog in a secluded part of a wood in Shenley on the morning of November 5, 2017.
The pair, who had been missing since Halloween, had been tracked to the area by Zaiga’s mobile phone, the hearing at Hatfield heard.
Zaiga’s arm was cradled around Charlie’s shoulder. ‘Towards eternity’ and ‘4 Ever’ had been spray painted on a heart symbol.
Post-mortem examinations found they died from asphyxia. Cocaine and cannabis traces were found in their bodies.
In a statement read to the senior Hertfordshire coroner Geoffrey Sullivan, Charlie’s mother Jo said: “They lived together, died together and at their request were buried together.”
She said Charlie had struggled with his mental health from the age of 12. He had shown signs of psychosis and heard voices telling him to kill himself.
He was a talented musician who sang and played guitar in a metal band called Desert Smoker.
Ms Eccleston said: “Although he had no love for himself, he adored Zaige. Zaige was a talented artist. She dreamed of being a tattoo artist.
“She was stunningly beautiful. You could always see her love for Charlie.”
Zaiga had been diagnosed with anorexia and Asperger’s Syndrome, her mother Ausma said in a statement. She had been studying music at Bedford College but became too unwell to continue.
Ausma said: “She and Charlie were deeply in love.”
Evidence from Professor Hilary McCallion, who examined the way the couple were treated by mental health professionals, is due to be heard tomorrow.
The inquest is proceeding. It is due to last three days.