Merimbula Valley High deaths: neighbours tried to help

It was a visit by Merimbula Homecare that alerted neighbours of Joy and Bert Farley, who were found with their pet dog, Suzie, in their Valley High unit Merimbula, that there was something amiss.

There had been concerns for Joy, aged 89 and her husband Bert, 90 for some weeks.

Neighbour Joy Arndell said that she had spoken to Mrs Farley in the last month. “I had convinced them that they needed Meals on Wheels,” said Ms Arndell, who is a volunteer with the Meals on Wheels service. “They only got one lot but I asked them to ring me if they wanted any more. I then took another menu around to them and asked if they would like some help with taking the rubbish out or cleaning up but they said no,” Ms Arndell said.

“I left my phone number and said if you need anything, anything at all, just call me. I know that other neighbours did the same,” she said. “But you can’t force people to take your help or phone you.”

Mr and Mrs Farley had been active members of the Bowling Club in the past but Mr Farley had been sick for some time, slowly deteriorating, Ms Arndell said. Mr Farley had an asbestos related disease and only had one lung.

“I was concerned for Joy because I think she was feeling the pressure of being the carer,” Ms Arndell said.

About two weeks ago Ms Arndell said she hadn’t seen the Farleys and so tapped on their window and saw them sitting at the table.

“On Tuesday (August 12) the lady from Homecare called me to say she thought she could see a body and we called the police.”

There were Homecare visits every two weeks. Ms Arndell said that they were a very private couple. “People have the right to stay in their own home. The only good thing was that they were together. It was one of those unfortunate things.”

Ms Arndell urged everyone to be aware of their next door neighbours, particularly the elderly or vulnerable. “It could be your next door neighbours,” she said.

A report is being prepared for the information of the Coroner after the bodies of the couple and their dog were found in their home in Valley High apartments, Sapphire Coast Drive.


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