Police have ruled out any connection between the murder of Dennis and Sheila Jefferson at their home in Chidham at the weekend and the murder of Valerie Graves in 2013.
Mrs Graves was found beaten to death with a hammer in Bosham on December 30, 2013, while Mr and Mrs Jefferson were found to have died just four miles away from head and neck injuries before their house was set alight, according to police.
Despite the apparent similarities, a Sussex Police spokesman said: “We are making absolutely no connection between the two incidents.”
The spokesman refused to comment on whether the similarities between the two alleged murders might prompt police to link the two murders, adding: “They are being treated as two separate incidents.”
Sussex Police later released the following statement: “We are obviously mindful of the murder in Bosham, however at this stage there is no information which links the two incidents.”
Residents on the Maybush Drive have reacted with shock at the double killing.
Sue, a neighbour who declined to give her surname, said: “I didn’t know the Jeffersons. I’ve only recently moved here. I knew them by sight, and we said hello to each other.
“I hadn’t really spoken to them.
“It’s horrible that they died. If there was a fire and they died in it, then you could imagine that they died peacefully, overwhelmed by the fumes in their sleep, you’d think.
“But to think that they were murdered is awful.”
Another neighbour, 83-year-old Jo Elliot, said: “I did know them. They’ve lived there for 30-odd years and I’ve lived here much longer.
“I’ve been living here for, coming up to 56 years.
“They were a lovely couple and I’m just shattered. There’s just no logic to it.
“I saw that it was now being treated as murder on the news and I was doubly shocked.
“It was bad enough with the fire, not knowing what the cause was.”