A fugitive British couple starved to death on board a stolen luxury yacht off the coast of West Africa after enjoying a “champagne lifestyle” beyond their means, an inquest was told.
Sharon Arthurs-Chegini, an interior designer, and Peter Clarke, a businessman, were dubbed the West Country’s Bonnie and Clyde when they disappeared while awaiting trial for fraud and theft in December 2005.
When their bodies were found nine months later in a stolen yacht drifting off the coast of Senegal it was at first thought that they had been killed by pirates.
At an inquest yesterday Emma Carlyon, the Cornwall Coroner, recorded an open verdict. She said that there was little evidence about how the couple died other than an entry in Arthurs-Chegini’s diary in which she described a lack of water, food and possible storm damage to the yacht.
“My heart and love goes out to my daughters and to my immediate family. We now haven’t eaten for four weeks and I dream of my mum’s steak and kidney pie, steak pie and sausage and mash,” she wrote.
Jade Dunbar, Arthurs-Chegini’s stepdaughter, told the inquest at Truro that her stepmother enjoyed a “champagne and cocaine lifestyle.”