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Autumn trial over Down Hall hotel double swimming pool deaths

28 April 2015 by

The hotel company running luxury Down Hall country house hotel in Hatfield Heath in Essex faces a trial in the autumn over the deaths of two of its guests in its swimming pool in 2013.

ThenHotels LLP, trading as ThenHospitality, is being prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive, and its legal representative today pleaded not guilty at Chelmsford Crown Court to two offences.

Nursing student Josephine Foday, 22, of Barth Road, Plumstead, London, was spending her birthday weekend with married father of two Komba Kpakiwa, 31, of Arthur Street, Erith, Kent, at the wedding venue and 99-room hotel near Bishop's Stortford.

The bodies of the couple, who were having an affair, were found floating in the unusually shaped pool about 7pm on 27 April 2013. An inquest in May last year recorded that they both died accidentally.

At a hearing on Monday ThenHotels pleaded not guilty to failing to make a suitable and sufficient risk assessment on or before 27 April 2013 as managers of Down Hall country house hotel.

It also pleaded not guilty to failing to ensure as far as is reasonably practicable that persons were not exposed to risks on 27 April 2013.

It is alleged that it permitted guests to use a swimming pool without sufficient regard to health and safety guidance issued by the Health and Safety Executive, and to reports carried out by Hygcam Ltd in July 2010 and April 2011, and by 4SIGHT Risk Management Ltd in September 2011, January 2012, October 2012 and December 2012.

Judge Christopher Ball QC set a date of 19 October for the two-week trial. He was told there were a number of witnesses, including directors of the company and pool experts.

Miss Foday was studying at Canterbury University and Mr Kpakiwa, who worked in a Co-op, was studying law at North London University.

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