| 03.06,09. 01:43 PM |
Couple leap to death with dead son
June 03, 2009 12:00am
A GRIEVING couple who placed the body of their dead son in a rucksack before leaping to their deaths from cliffs at Beachy Head were dedicated parents who lived for their boy, friends have said.
Police fear devastated couple Neil and Kazumi Puttick agreed a suicide pact after deciding they could not face life without their son Sam, who died a day earlier from meningitis at their family home.
Pictures of the family emerged on the day the full extent of the tragic sequence of events which led to their deaths was revealed.
The youngster was just 18 months old when he was the victim of a car crash which left him paralysed from the neck down and confined to a wheelchair.
Mr and Mrs Puttick gave up their careers to devote themselves to the care of their fragile little boy.
But last week Sam lost a brief battle against pneumococcal meningitis, contracting the disease on Tuesday and dying peacefully at home on Friday evening, with his devastated father, 34, and Japanese-born mother, 44, at his bedside.
They simply could not face life without him and, last Sunday, left an 'extremely emotional' typewritten note and drove to Beachy Head, a notorious suicide spot in the UK, and flung themselves to their death.
Sam's little body was found in a zipped-up rucksack alongside his parents' bodies.
A second rucksack nearby was filled with his toys.
Yesterday, as police said the couple had committed suicide consumed with grief, details emerged of the unbearably sad story of how the family's once-perfect life was torn apart.
A neighbour said: 'They were the perfect neighbours, they really were. They were deeply in love with each other and when Sam came along, they lived for him. '
Three years ago, Mr Puttick wrote on a website dedicated to charting Sam's progress: 'He was a normal, healthy, active boy before, but because of someone's careless driving, he is now as he is.
'We are so very proud of how he has survived, who he now is and how he continues to smile and be so damn strong in spite of everything. He is simply amazing.'
In January this year, Sam's father added: 'As a family we live life now, but I wait for the day that Sam does not have to go through the medical procedures he has to go through every day to keep him alive.
'I wait for the day that I hear that there has been a breakthrough.'