Investigation into what killed Lancashire couple in Egypt could take months

The UK investigation into what killed a Lancashire couple who died in Egypt could take “several months”, a senior coroner has warned.

A Home Office pathologist began examining the bodies of John and Susan Cooper, from Burnley, on Thursday.

Their daughter, Kelly Ormerod, has said she has “no faith” in the Egyptian authorities, which reported that E.coli killed her parents.

Egypt hotel deaths
(PA Graphics)

Dr James Adeley, senior coroner for Lancashire, said: “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.”

Egypt’s chief prosecutor Nabil Sadek said on Wednesday that forensic examinations showed Mr Cooper, 69, suffered acute intestinal dysentery caused by E.coli, and Mrs Cooper, a 63-year-old Thomas Cook employee, suffered a complication linked to infection, likely to have been caused by E.coli.

He said the bodies of the couple showed “no criminal violence”.

Other tests of air and water at the hotel found nothing unusual, he added.

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

The Steigenberger Aqua Magic Hotel
The Steigenberger Aqua Magic Hotel in Hurghada, Egypt (AP)

Mrs Ormerod, who was staying at the same hotel with her children, said: “I have not seen evidence or facts of any E.coli.

“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.

“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.”

Thomas Cook revealed last week that it had identified a high level of E.coli bacteria at the hotel, which would “explain the raised level of illness reported among guests”.

But the firm said the independent specialists it commissioned to carry out the tests, and Dr Vanya Gant from University College London Hospitals NHS
Foundation Trust, did not believe the results “shed any light” on the cause of the Coopers’ deaths.

Thomas Cook moved 300 guests out of the hotel 24 hours after the couple died as a precaution.

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