Couple who died on holiday in Egypt repatriated 'without some organs', inquest hears

ITV Granada Reports journalist Jennifer Buck reports at the end of the second day of the inquest.

A couple who died suddenly in their hotel room while on holiday were repatriated to the UK without some of their organs, a pathologist has told their inquest.

John Cooper, 69 and Susan Cooper, 63, from Burnley, died suddenly while on a Thomas Cook holiday in Egypt on 21 August 2018.

A two-day inquest into their deaths previously heard the hotel room they were staying in had been next door to a room fumigated with chemicals to kill bed bugs just hours before.

Their daughter, Kelly Ormerod, who had been staying with them at the Steigenberger Aqua Magic Hotel in the Red Sea resort of Hurghada said a strange smell had been present in the room, "like acetone, like someone had painted their nails".

After their deaths and repatriation back to the UK, the inquest at Blackburn Coroner's Court was told, forensic pathologist Charles Wilson examined the bodies.

Dr Wilson said the couple had been 'disrupted' after an autopsy in Egypt, with their bodies embalmed and some of the organs missing, making his job "a lot harder".

He also said the hotel room the couple were staying in should have been sealed off, with tests carried out to determine what had been sprayed next door.

The Steigenberger Aqua Magic Hotel in the Red Sea resort of Hurghada.

Running through the Egyptian medical reports and comparing it to his own findings, Dr Wilson said there was a chance that an underlying heart condition for John and severe exhaustion after the sickness could have played a part in the couples death.

But he said the set of circumstances suggested it was something in the environment, calling it a "huge coincidence" they both fell critically ill in the same room.

The inquest also heard the Coopers were likely to have died from carbon monoxide poisoning.

Professor Robert Chilcott, a toxicologist, said he was "sure beyond reasonable doubt" carbon monoxide was present in their systems, after testing samples taken from the couple's blood.

He told the inquest the levels were consistent with "severe and significant exposure and indicative of a serious poisoning".

When asked if it could have come from the deep clean coming from the next door room, he told the inquest, "yes, that's possible".

The inquest was told dichloromethane, used to dilute the pesticide in the fumigation, could produce carbon monoxide when it is inhaled.

The coroner previously heard the adjoining room had been 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 front door of the room was sealed off, with masking tape, but the adjoining door that led to Mr and Mrs Coopers room was not.

After sounding the alarm about her parents, Ms Ormerod told the inquest, on its first day, that two doctors were summoned, but they were in “panic mode” as her parents further deteriorated and her father struggled to breathe.

CPR was attempted but Mr Cooper was declared dead on the hotel room floor and his wife was taken to a clinic at the hotel where she became “super agitated” and delirious, the inquest heard.

Mrs Cooper was taken to hospital by ambulance but declared dead at 4.12pm.

Both were returned to the UK in sealed, zinc-lined coffins, the inquest heard.

The hearing continues.