Famous city twin sister dies at 64

York Press: Freda Chaplin, right, and her sister, Greta, who has died Freda Chaplin, right, and her sister, Greta, who has died

THEY were identical, inseparable and lived their entire lives in complete unison.

But Freda Chaplin, one half of York's most famous and astonishing twins is now facing life alone after her beloved sister Greta died, The Press has learned.

Greta and Freda made headlines around the world and baffled scientific experts, with their remarkable double-life.

The pair, of Moor Avenue, in Tang Hall, would dress alike, try to walk in step, eat in tandem, and often even speak in apparently perfect unison.

They shot to global fame and notoriety in the early 1980s, at the age of 38, when they were both jailed for a month for breaching the peace. They had been taken to court by lorry driver Kenneth Iveson, who claimed the pair had hounded him for years. It was said they had developed a joint obsession with him, possibly because a joint crush had been spurned.

In court, onlookers were stunned when the pair uttered exactly the same sentences at the same time, without rehearsal or prompting.

One Tang Hall resident, who has lived hear the pair's home for many years, said today: "You could not part them. They used to come here and if I gave them biscuits they would both reach for the same biscuit at the same time. They were inseparable, and loved one another."

She said she had been quite close to the twins. "They used to come for tea, or I would do some shopping for them or cook for them.

"But now it seems Freda does not want to know anybody."

The neighbour said the twins had lived in the house, where they had been born in April, 1943, right up until Greta took ill. She died at Oak Rise, in Acomb, and it is believed Freda is also now at a care home.

Amid the media storm following the 1981 court case, psychologists and psychiatrists spent time with the pair, exploring their personalities. They were found to have identical mannerisms and gestures, and were once even seen jointly holding a frying pan, in which they were cooking a single egg.

The daughters of James and Elsie Chaplin, it was said the Freda and Greta had been ordinary children until the age of about 11, before becoming ultra-dependent on one another. They would scream when teachers made them sit apart in school, and would resist efforts to distinguish or divide them.

Records from York Register Office show Greta died of ovarian cancer and carcinomatosis in June, aged 64.

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