Down Hall pool deaths couple named at inquest

The man and woman who died in a swimming pool at Down Hall Hotel in Hatfield Heath, Essex, 26 April, were named at the inquests into the deaths as Komba Kpakiwa, 31, of Erith, Kent, and Josephine Newahun Foday, 22, of Plumstead, south London.

Provisional results of post-mortem examinations showed that both deaths were consistent with drowning.

The inquests were opened in Chelmsford by deputy Essex coroner Eleanor McGann who heard Ms Foday had been celebrating her birthday the day before her death, and that Mr Kpakiwa was attending a birthday celebration at the four-star venue.

Both guests, the coroner heard, had been seen by another hotel guest who was leaving the pool. When that guest returned 15 minutes later, he saw Mr Kpakiwa and Ms Foday floating face down.

Police ruled the deaths as not suspicious, although the coroner adjourned both inquests to an unspecified date with further samples were still awaiting analysis.

Chris Falcus, manager of Down Hall, said: “We wish to reiterate our condolences to the friends and families of the lady and gentleman concerned. Both myself and the team at the hotel are deeply upset by what has happened.

“The results of the post-mortem examinations have concluded that the deaths of the two people were consistent with drowning, which puts an end to inappropriate speculation about our facilities.”

Uttlesford District Council has launched a health and safety investigation into the tragedy at the Italianate country mansion conference hotel, which dates back to 1322.

The 110-acre estate was purchased by the Veladail Group in 1986, which has operated it as a hotel, conference centre and wedding venue since.

In February 2009, TV personality and former Big Brother contestant Jade Goody married her partner Jack Tweed there, a month before her death from cervical cancer.
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Paul Colston


Paul Colston

Managing Editor, Conference News & Conference & Meetings World.

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