MP Owen Paterson tells of ‘terrible shock’ after his wife is found dead
24 June 2020, 11:30 | Updated: 24 June 2020, 13:00
The wife of Tory MP Owen Paterson told of his "terrible shock" after finding his wife dead aged 64 in woodland near their family home in Shropshire.
The MP for north Shropshire confirmed the news about his partner Rose Paterson who was the Chairman of Aintree Racecourse.
Today is also Mr Paterson's 64th birthday.
"It is with great sadness that I must inform you that my wife, Rose, has been found dead at our family home in Shropshire," he said in a statement.
"'Rose and I were married for 40 happy years. She was a wonderful, caring wife, mother and grandmother.
"Her death has come as a terrible shock to us all.
"I would ask the media to respect the privacy of myself and my family at this extremely difficult time."
The pair share two sons, Felix and Fred, and daughter Evie.
West Mercia Police have said the death is currently being treated as "unexplained".
A spokesperson said: "We can confirm the body of a woman has been found in woodland near Pant Lane in Sodylt in Ellesmere. At this stage there is believed to be no third party involvement".
Mrs Paterson was a keen horsewoman, and in 2011 she and her husband completed a 1,000 km horse ride across Mongolia to raise £120,000 for charity.
In March, they both tested positive for coronavirus and self-isolated together for two weeks.
She became the first woman to be chairman of Aintree when she took up the position in 2013.
Sandy Dudgeon, Senior Steward of The Jockey Club, said: "This is tragic news and our thoughts go out to Rose's husband Owen and all members of her family."
"Rose was a wonderful person and involved in so many aspects of our sport. She was a skilled Chairman at Aintree, a valued member of our Board of Stewards and headed up our Horse Welfare Group. She also enjoyed participating at grassroots level over many years.
"We appreciated her contribution very much and my fellow Stewards and I looked forward to hearing her sound views on a subject, where she was always sensitive to the best course of action for racing. She will be missed greatly for the person she was."
Mr Paterson was first elected to Parliament in 1997, and served under David Cameron as Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and Secretary of State for Northern Ireland.