THE former Wiltshire Police officer found shot dead with the body of his partner at the weekend had suffered a sharp decline in his mental health recently, his family have said.

Ex-Insp Bill Dowling, who had retired from the force in 2007, and his partner Victoria Rose were found dead on Saturday morning in the porch of a house they had been renovating.

His shocked family said they were trying to come to terms with the loss of a much loved father and grandfather.

“During the last three weeks Bill's emotional and mental wellbeing have been in sharp decline and we are shocked and saddened by recent events. “We are thinking of Vicki's family,” the statement added.