The bodies of a 60-year-old local man and his 39-year-old Filipino wife were found last Friday night by their landlord, who went to his flat in New Taipei City to collect the rent.

The landlord surnamed Huang visited the rented unit at Section 2 on Datong Road in Xizhi district at 8pm – for a second time – as he had presumed the couple were not home when he visited a few days earlier and got no response, The Liberty Times reported.

Arriving at the door, the landlord was shocked by a pungent smell coming from inside, which caused him to call for police assistance.

The husband surnamed An and his Filipino wife, who were married more than 10 years but had no children, were found lying dead on the bed with a box of burned charcoal on the floor in the bedroom, which had the windows and door sealed.

It was learned that the man who had worked as a security guard had been out of work since last year after a stroke, and his wife had become the breadwinner. However, she was paid little, so the pair had financial problems.

A preliminary police investigation suggested the couple had committed suicide by burning charcoal two or three days earlier as the man was reportedly distressed at his meager recovery from the stroke, while his wife was tired of being his primary caregiver.