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Cause of Egypt hotel couple’s deaths to be confirmed as post-mortems begin

The post-mortems of a couple who died while on holiday in Egypt are to begin, three weeks after their deaths.

John and Susan Cooper from Burnley died suddenly after being found seriously ill in their hotel room in the Hurghada resort on 21 August.

Their bodies have been brought back to the UK, where a coroner is due to open inquests into their deaths.

A pathologist will examine the bodies to indicate a cause of death but it could take months before the results are confirmed.

Dr James Adeley, senior coroner for Lancashire, told Sky News: “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.

Steigenberger Aqua Magic Hotel in Hurghada. Pic: Steigenberger
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Steigenberger Aqua Magic Hotel, where the Coopers fell ill. Pic: Steigenberger

“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.”

The Coopers’ daughter Kelly Ormerod, told Sky News she doubted the ruling of Egypt’s chief prosecutor who said her parents had probably died from E.coli poisoning.

Prosecutor Nabil Sadek said Mr Cooper, 69, suffered acute intestinal dysentery caused by E.coli, and Mrs Cooper, 63, suffered a complication linked to infection, likely to have been caused by E.coli.

But Mrs Ormerod, who had been on the Thomas Cook holiday with her parents and her son when they died, said: “The Egyptians are looking for someone to blame and I don’t believe for one minute that caused their deaths.

“It is unheard of that someone dies of E.coli in such a short space of time.”

Kelly Ormerod
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Kelly Ormerod does not believe her parents’ deaths were caused by E.coli

Mr Sadek previously said an inspection of the couple’s hotel room found no toxic or harmful gas emissions or leaks.

There was also no evidence of criminal involvement in their deaths and tests on air and water at the hotel found nothing unusual, he added.

Travel company Thomas Cook commissioned specialists to examine the hotel following the deaths, with tests showing normal carbon monoxide levels near the couple’s room and normal levels of chlorine in the swimming pool.

However, tests on the food and hygiene standards “identified a high level of E.coli and staphylococcus bacteria”, the firm said.

Thomas Cook evacuated 300 guests from the hotel as a precaution after the deaths.

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