Couple who fell ill in hotel room in Egypt died from ‘carbon monoxide poisoning’
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Featured Image Credit: Facebook/Steigenberger Aqua Magic
The couple who fell ill while staying in Egypt died from ‘carbon monoxide poisoning’, according to an inquest.
British couple John Cooper, 69, a builder, and his wife Susan, 63, a cashier at a bureau de change in a Thomas Cook travel agent, from Burnley, Lancashire, tragically passed away 21 August 2018 at an Egyptian resort in Hurghada called the Steigenberger Aqua Magic Hotel.
The pair were on holiday with their daughter, Kelly Ormerod, and three grandchildren when they died.
They were found seriously ill in their room by their daughter after they failed to emerge for breakfast.
Her father was declared dead on the hotel room floor and his wife in hospital hours later.
A pathologist told an inquest that the couple died as a result of carbon monoxide poisoning, however, experts could not be sure of the source of the poisonous gas that killed them Blackburn Coroner’s Court heard.
A statement from a German tourist read at the inquest said there had been a bed bug infestation in the room next door to the Coopers.
It was then treated with the pesticide, referred to as Lambda, at lunchtime, with the Coopers falling ill in the early hours and dying the next day.
The two rooms had an adjoining door but this was kept locked.
Professor Robert Chilcott told the hearing that he detected the presence of carbon monoxide in blood samples from the bodies of the couple.
Home Office pathologist Dr Charles Wilson gave a cause of death for Mr Cooper as carbon monoxide toxicity and heart disease and for Mrs Cooper, carbon monoxide toxicity.
“What you have here is a situation whereby the trajectory of the Coopers’ deaths, the circumstances surrounding it, how that evolved is not compatible with natural disease,” Dr Wilson said.
“It is typical of something in the environment and carbon monoxide is a common environmental toxin. It shows lots of features I would expect to see in carbon monoxide poisoning.
“It’s exactly what I would expect to see in people poisoned by carbon monoxide.”
Dr Wilson explained that someone with cardiovascular disease, like Mr Cooper, would find it more difficult to withstand carbon monoxide poisoning.
Prof Chilcott, a toxicology expert, also told the hearing that carbon monoxide was present in the blood samples from the bodies but he could not be certain of the levels.
The levels were sufficient to suggest ‘severe exposure’ to carbon monoxide.
He suggested in less developed countries the pesticide Lambda is sometimes diluted with another substance, dichloromethane, which causes the body to metabolise or ingest carbon monoxide.
He added: “I would say a 10-hour exposure duration, in theory, would be sufficient to cause carbon monoxide poisoning.”