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‘High-flying’ BT exec husband of woman found strangled had ‘suffered mental breakdown in coronavirus lockdown’

THE “high-flying” BT exec husband of a woman found strangled and beaten to death had suffered a mental breakdown brought on by lockdown, friends claimed today.

Suzanne Winnister, 66, was found collapsed on Tuesday night at her £1.6 million home in a quiet residential street in Bexley, South East London.

A friend today revealed Suzanne’s husband Leslie Winnister had previously been struggling in lockdown, claiming it had brought on a breakdown.

He had been seeing a doctor and Suzanne was sticking by him in a desperate bid to support her husband of 35 years.

The friend said: “It had been going on since lockdown. I think it may have been brought on by that.

“She wanted to help Les through it – she would never have left him.”

Mrs Winnister had previously worked for City-based international bank Standard Chartered while her husband was a “high-flyer” worker at telecoms giant BT.

Suzanne was found dead at her gated home in Bexley by the partner of one of her nieces on Tuesday night.

He raced to the address after Suzanne failed to respond to repeated attempts to contact her, which was out of character for her.

A 68-year-old man – believed to be known to Ms Winnister – was arrested on suspicion of murder. He was taken to a south London police station where he remains at this time.

Mr Winnister’s sister Patricia Andrews today spoke of her shock at the tragedy.

She told The Sun Online: “I don’t know what’s happened. My brother was a workaholic, he worked for British Telecom.

“A high-flyer. They’ve got a million-dollar house.

“The last time I saw them was my husband’s funeral three years ago.”

And retired pub boss Lynda Idle, 71, paid tribute to her best friend Suzanne after the pair hit it off at a local pub.

Mrs Idle said: “Suzanne was a gentle, giving person. If she could do something for you, she would. 

“She loved my dogs and used to come round and see them. 

“I think the last time I spoke to her was the day she died. She was meant to be coming to my birthday party this Saturday, so it was just to see if she was going to be there. 

“It’s very hard to think about her at the moment. She didn’t deserve this. 

“She has two nieces who she absolutely adored. It’s absolutely heartbreaking. It doesn’t seem real.”

A second man, aged 64, was arrested but has since been released under investigation.

Detective Chief Inspector Mick Norman, said: “We are at the very early stages of our investigation, we have arrested two men and our enquiries continue.

“Our thoughts remain with the deceased’s family at this sad time. I urge anyone who has information, but has not yet come forward, to get in touch without delay.”

A BT spokesman: “Our thoughts are with the family at this tragic time. As this is a live police investigation, it would be inappropriate for us to make any further comment.”

Anyone with information should call police on 101 or tweet @MetCC quoting Cad 7827/08Sep or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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