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Sad tale of Kentish Town couple's deaths

PUBLISHED: 12:17 18 February 2010 | UPDATED: 16:47 07 September 2010

NEIGHBOURS of a popular Kentish Town couple have been left stunned and devastated after both husband and wife died within a matter of days of each other. Marie-Christine Roberts, 66, was found unconscious by her son at the bottom of the stairs in their Co

NEIGHBOURS of a popular Kentish Town couple have been left stunned and devastated after both husband and wife died within a matter of days of each other.

Marie-Christine Roberts, 66, was found unconscious by her son at the bottom of the stairs in their Countess Road home after apparently tripping on her way to answer the phone.

The former Tate Britain art gallery employee was pronounced dead at the Royal Free on February 8, 11 days after the accident. An inquest into her death was opened at St Pancras Coroners court last week.

While she was in intensive care at the hospital, her husband Jeffrey Roberts, who she had cared for in recent months, also died after a long battle with cancer.

It is not known whether he knew before he died of his wife's tragic fall.

The couple's two children were too upset to speak this week but neighbours in the close-knit community told the Ham&High of their reaction to the tragic loss of an admired couple.

Friends described the couple as well read, cultured and interested in the affairs of the world - notably they turned out for anti Iraq War demonstrations in 2003.

Next door neighbour Ashok Klouda said: "They were such wonderful people. It is really, really terrible. Above all, I will remember them for their kindness and gentleness. Growing up next door to them, they always showed a keen interest in what I was up to and supported me on many occasions. We were so lucky to be their neighbours for 20 years and we will all miss them greatly."

Judy Lloyd, of Countess Road, said: "It is just an awful tragedy. Everyone on the street has been absolutely devastated. They were popular figures and led exemplary green lifestyles. They would cycle everywhere. They were extremely well thought of."

Another neighbour Mish Cromer said: "They were great neighbours, just lovely, lovely people both warm and kind hearted. You always felt they were someone you could go to. It makes me tearful just thinking about it. They were elders of the street.

"It is a terrible shock for everyone and my heart goes out to their children."

Mrs Roberts, who was known as Miquette, had worked in the Tate Britain's education department for ten years.

Her colleague Harriet Curnow said: "She was inspiring, incredibly knowledgeable about the Tate collection and had an enormous zest for life. She taught regularly in the gallery in English and French, and had a real passion for art and the ability to communicate this with a wide audience.

"After retiring from her full time role in learning at Tate Britain, she would return to Tate almost on a weekly basis to teach in the gallery as a Tate guide, visit the latest exhibitions, the research centre and to meet friends. I represent many people across the Tate who worked with her when I say her loss is great and she will be hugely missed.

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