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UK investigation into Egypt hotel deaths 'could take months'

John and Susan Cooper died while holidaying in Hurghada [Facebook]

Date of publication: 14 September, 2018

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A senior coroner has said that an investigation into the deaths of a British couple in Egypt could take 'several months' as a UK Home Office study gets underway.


The UK's investigation into the deaths of a British couple who died while holidaying in Egypt could take "several months", a senior coroner has said.

Dr James Adeley, senior coroner for the northwestern British country of Lancashire, made the warning as a UK Home Office pathologist began examining the bodies of John, 69, and Susan Cooper, 63,  on Thursday.

The couple died on 21 August while staying at the Steigenberger Aqua Magic Hotel in the Red Sea resort of Hurghada.

Egypt's chief prosecutor Nabil Sadek said on Wednesday that the couple's bodies showed "no criminal violence," concluding that they had died of complications linked to E. coli bacteria.

The couple's daughter, Kelly Omerod, has expressed doubt about the Egyptian forensic examination.

"I have not seen evidence or facts of any E.coli," said MRs Omerod, who had been staying in the same hotel as her parents.

"Thomas Cook put a report out that there were high levels of E.coli at the hotel. Whether the Egyptians have homed in on that, I have no idea," she added.

"But anybody can Google what E.coli symptoms are and the progression of E.coli and it does not kill you within a matter of hours".

"They are either stuck for answers or don't want to tell the truth".

Speaking on Thursday, Dr Adley said that "in view of the concerns raised by this case, analysis and evaluation of the findings at post-mortem and the associated samples may take some weeks or possibly several months to analyse".

"These results will need to be compared with the findings from the Egyptian investigation, when these are available to the Home Office pathologist and the coroner."

Last week, British tour operator Thomas Cook revealed that tests from the hotel had found high levels of E. coli, possibly explaining the "raised level of illness reported among guests".

The firm commissioned with carrying out the tests, however said that it did not believe that the results "shed any light" on the cause of the Coppers' deaths.

Egypt's key tourism industry has been recovering from a devastating blow in 2015 when terrorists bombed a Russian airliner carrying holidaymakers from the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, killing all 224 on board.

Last week, Janice Bowles, 58, from Bristol, died while on holiday in the Red Sea resort of Hurghada, after she was flipped from a banana boat and trapped underneath.

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