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Double hotel pool drowning – accidental death verdict

15 May 2014 by
Double hotel pool drowning – accidental death verdict

An inquest jury in Essex this afternoon returned a verdict of accidental death on a man and woman who drowned in the pool at luxury four-star Down Hall country house hotel, Hatfield Heath.

They had been told that the pool, in use since 1987, was of a hopper design - shaped like a grain hopper - with the deepest 2.1m section in the centre and had four steeply sloping sides, with the edges not marked.

During the hearing pool safety expert, Andrew Ebben described the design as "extremely unusual" and said he had only seen one other such pool in 30-years' experience.

In the aftermath of the inquest Essex Coroner Caroline Beasley-Murray said she would be writing to the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health and to the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health in case there were any other similar pools of the 1980s design in use.

She said : "It was an unusual design and there are not perhaps many other pools with such a profile. However, there may be some that are still dating from the late 80s which are of this design so the court is going to report some of the concerns that arose in the course of the evidence."

She added that there were no plans "at all" to reopen Down Hall Hotel's pool.

Relatives of one of the victims of the tragedy said they may pursue civil action against the hotel owners and the local, Uttlesford District Council, says it is considering whether to take legal proceedings against the company.

The victims were : nursing student Josephine Foday, 22, of Barth Road, Plumstead, London, who was spending her birthday weekend with married father of two Komba Kpakiwa, 31, of Arthur Street, Erith, Kent.

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