Decomposed bodies were found off Senegal in 2006

An inquest has heard how a fugitive couple who fled the UK after living a “champagne and cocaine lifestyle” beyond their means were found dead on board a stolen yacht off the west African coast.

Sharon Arthurs-Chegini, 46, and Peter Clarke, 49, were wanted by police over the 2005 theft of a yacht from Falmouth. Their badly decomposed bodies were found in 2006 on board a vessel stolen from Portugal that was drifting off the coast of Senegal.

Their bodies were so decomposed they could only be identified by their credit cards, Cornwall Coroners’ Court was told yesterday.

The fugitives had skipped bail in Britain over the theft of a boat from Mylor harbour near Falmouth and sailed through Europe before stealing a yacht from a Portuguese mooring in spring 2006.

Sharon Arthurs-Chegini kept a diary of her last days at sea. It told how the couple were forced to drink seawater and their own urine after running out of fresh water. She also revealed the pair had not eaten for four weeks.

“Peter collapsed in bed,” she wrote in June 2006. “I have been unable to get to him, everything takes a huge amount of energy. Love goes to my daughters and family. We have not eaten for four weeks. I dream of mum’s steak and kidney pie. The lights are going out in my heart.”