Couple fell ill and died on holiday after hotel room next door had been fumigated with ‘strong chemicals’
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A British couple died in a hotel room in Egypt after the room next door had been fumigated with 'strong chemicals' to kill bed bugs mere hours before their deaths, an inquest has heard.
The pair were on holiday with their daughter, Kelly Ormerod, and three grandchildren when they died with Blackburn Coroner's Court hearing that the report suggested neither carbon monoxide poisoning nor food poisoning caused the couple's deaths.
The preliminary report, however, did point to possible exposure to an 'infectious biological agent or toxic chemicals'.
On the first day of the two-day inquest hearing, a German tourist said he reported a bed bug infestation in the room next door to the Coopers.
The room was then treated with the pesticide, referred to as Lambda, in the afternoon, with the Coopers falling seriously ill in the early hours and dying the next day.
The two rooms in question had an adjoining door, but this was kept locked.
Ormerod, a HMRC civil servant, said her parents were fit and healthy for their age and had been enjoying a 'brilliant' holiday before the tragedy struck.
Mrs Cooper had also already visited the same hotel in April of that year and described it as 'fabulous'.
The group left the UK for Egypt on 13 August and, on the evening of 20 August, they all went to the hotel restaurant and a bar, before calling it a night.
Ormerod’s daughter, Molly, who was 12 at the time, was sleeping on a single bed in her grandparents' room, which she said had a 'yeasty smell'.
However, at around 1am in the morning on 21 August, Mr Cooper rang to say Molly was feeling under the weather and he escorted his granddaughter to her mother’s room in an upper floor.
Then, the following morning, both Mr and Mrs Cooper didn't show up for breakfast, so Ormerod went to their ground floor room, 5107, to discover the pair were seriously ill.
She recalled her father came to the door and said "I really don't feel well," while retching.
"He just literally slumped and sat on the corner of the bed and said: 'I’m really not well'," Ormerod told the hearing.
The grieving daughter also told the hearing her mother was in bed, 'groaning' with vomit in her hair and around the room, where she noticed a strange 'heavy' smell.
Two doctors were called but were in 'panic mode', Ormerod went on, and explained that her parents' health only worsened leaving her father unable to breathe properly.
"His eyes kind of… a glazed, staring look," she added.
While CPR was attempted, Mr Cooper was eventually declared dead on the hotel room floor.
According to the inquest, his wife was then rushed to a a clinic at the hotel where she became 'super agitated' and delirious.
She was then taken to hospital by ambulance but declared dead at 4.12pm.
Both were later repatriated to the UK.
A statement from Dominik Bibi, from Germany, who arrived in the early hours of 20 August, said his mother-in-law was booked to stay in room 5106 which was right next door to the Coopers.
"On entering I immediately noticed a funny smell, like that of mould or damp," he stated. "There was a lot of bed bugs in the bed and under it."
He went on to recall a cleaner and night manager came and apologised for the smell and his mother-in-law took his and his wife’s room, further down the corridor at 5102.
At around lunchtime, some hours later, Bibi then reported seeing three men, two of which were wearing the hotel uniform and the other held a two or three litre pesticide canister he assumed being used to get rid of the bed bugs outside the room.
He added that after around five to 10 minutes, the three men then left the room and used masking tape to tape up around the door and seal the room.
"I would not say the job was very professional," Bibi’s statement declared, adding that that day, the air conditioning in the hotel was not working and a cleaner told the family the hotel was undertaking maintenance on the system.
The inquest continues.