Police have launched a murder investigation after a pair believed to be a pioneering Concorde pilot and his wife were found dead near the village of Bucklebury.

An official named the couple found in a property in West Berkshire on Tuesday evening as Tony and Paula Meadows, who were both in their 80s.

Mrs Meadows had been chronically ill with dementia and was being cared for by her husband on the farm where their bodies were found, according to a family friend.

Detectives stressed to locals in the village where the Duchess of Cambridge’s family have lived that there is no further threat and that they are not searching for a suspect.

Mr Meadows has previously written in the Mach 2 Concorde magazine that he was part of the flight crew during the supersonic jet’s first passenger flight from Heathrow to New York in 1977.

Police outside the property
Police outside the property (Steve Parsons/PA)

Officers from Thames Valley Police were investigating at one of the homes on Hawkridge Farm in Chapel Lane, where a blue forensics tent has been set up.

A family friend said the Meadows lived alone in the farm house where they had been for 35 years and that she had spoken to one of their three “devastated” children on Wednesday morning.

“They can’t understand it. They haven’t been able to get their minds around it really,” she said.

“Paula has dementia so she hadn’t been very well for quite a while.

“But Tony always took care of her and looked after her very well, and took her for walks.

“He was a very caring person, very friendly.

“I can’t understand how it happened… unless she deteriorated and he got to the end of his tether.”

She added: “He’s the type of person who would normally cope with any situation and it’s really sad that it’s happened.

“It’s difficult to take in really. I can only think that if he committed suicide then he must have been driven to it by the situation.”

Neighbours in nearby Frilsham spoke of their shock over the deaths of the “nice couple”.

“I think Paula has dementia because she asked the same questions,” said one woman who did not want to be named. “Tony was a pilot.”

Detective Chief Inspector Andy Howard described their deaths as “a tragic incident”.

“We are currently investigating and have launched a murder inquiry but we are not looking for anybody else in connection with this incident,” he added.

Asked about the former British Airways captain’s death, the airline said: “Our thoughts are with their family and friends.”

Several enthusiasts who knew Mr Meadows declined to comment, with one source saying: “I think everyone in the Concorde world is a bit raw about this just now.”

Recounting the first time they flew the plane commercially to New York, Mr Meadows said they were met with “enormous” crowds amid a “euphoria”.

Then, he was in charge of the aircraft on the way back to Britain.

“All the work had been worthwhile,” he wrote in Mach 2. “We had successfully taken our first bite at the Big Apple.”

The coroners’ office in Reading identified the couple found dead in Bucklebury as Tony and Paula Meadows, saying they were both aged 84.

The duchess’s parents Carole and Michael Middleton have owned an estate in the village, where they hosted their other daughter Pippa’s evening reception following her society wedding to James Matthews.