A hotel guest who saw two motionless bodies floating in a swimming pool thought they were part of a murder mystery prank.
Londoners Komba Kpakiwa, 31, and Josephine Newahun Foday, 22, died in the indoor swimming pool at the luxury Down Hall Country House in Hatfield Heath, Essex, on April 27 last year.
Marcel Haniff, a lawyer who was staying at the hotel told an inquest that he saw the couple playing in the pool before he entered the sauna. "They seemed to be perfectly healthy and just shouting and playing," he said.
When he returned to the pool he noticed their bodies floating on the surface but believed the incident was all part of an elaborate murder mystery weekend stunt, reports the Telegraph.
"There was a murder mystery weekend at the hotel so I thought it may still be a prank," he said.
He soon realised something "was seriously wrong".
"I ran back to the reception to tell them what had happened," he said.
Paramedics performed CPR on the pair but they were pronounced dead at the scene.
Mr Kpakiwa, a married father-of-two, and Miss Foday were staying at the four star hotel to celebrate her birthday.
The inquest heard that neither of them could swim and that the pool was not monitored by lifeguards or security cameras, reports the BBC.
Toxicology results showed neither victim had drugs or alcohol in their system at the time of the tragic accident.
A police investigation had ruled out any suspicious circumstances and water tests disproved any suggestion chemical levels in the water could have affected the pair.
Health and safety signs had been placed around the pool warning of its maximum depth of 2.1 metres, but CCTV around the pool had not been working at the time of the incident, reports the Telegraph.
Caroline Burchall, district environmental health worker for Uttlesford District Council, revealed she had written to the hotel raising "supervision concerns" and had planned to revisit the site in May last year – just weeks after the incident occurred.
The inquest is expected to last three days.
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