Daughter 'no closer' to finding what killed parents in Egypt three years on

1 April 2021, 16:04

Kelly. Picture: LBC

By Sarah Collins

A woman from Lancashire whose parents died on holiday in Egypt says she is no closer to finding out what their cause of death was almost three years on.

Kelly Ormerod, her children and parents – John and Susan Cooper – had been enjoying a family holiday at the Steigenberger Aqua Magic Hotel in the Red Sea resort of Hurghada in August 2018 when the couple were taken ill in their hotel room.

Kelly found her parents collapsed and called for an ambulance, but 69-year-old John died in the room and Susan passed away in the ambulance on the way to hospital.

Despite a pre-inquest hearing being held in May 2019, Kelly says she is no closer now to finding out what killed them.

“I think people will be surprised that from when mum and dad died in August 2018, we’re now in 2021 and I’m no nearer to finding out what killed them, it’s wrong," she said.

“It makes me feel angry, frustrated and it’s upsetting as well. We need answers, we need to be able to draw a line under everything and move on from what happened; it is still in the background, we’re still trying to work out what happened, why them?”

During a court hearing into the deaths in 2019, the findings of an interim report by Public Health England revealed the couple may have been exposed to "an infectious biological agent or toxic chemicals".

John and Susan Cooper had been enjoying a family holiday at the Steigenberger Aqua Magic Hotel
John and Susan Cooper had been enjoying a family holiday at the Steigenberger Aqua Magic Hotel. Picture: Facebook

However, the coroner at Preston crown court requested additional information from Egyptian authorities, it had been expected that a full inquest would take place later that year, no date has ever been set.

The foreign and Commonwealth office have made multiple requests for the documents and held meetings with the Egypt’s ministers for foreign affairs and tourism.

Ms Ormerod believes Egyptian authorities will never release the information: “I believe the coroner still hasn’t had that information from the Egyptian authorities, now whether he’s still waiting for it or whether he’s going to say ‘they’re not going to give us the information’ I don’t know.

"I feel he needs to close that door and move on. We can’t leave it open ended; the Egyptians aren’t going to comply. It’s almost three years, if they were going to give us the documentation, they would have given it to us by now.

"So, I want the coroner to make that decision that we aren’t getting that information, let’s go with what the home office found out.

The family were staying at the Steigenberger Aqua Magic hotel in Egypt
The family were staying at the Steigenberger Aqua Magic hotel in Egypt. Picture: Getty

“At the end of the day, mum and dad went on holiday, they were happy, healthy and then they died. Now as two British citizens on holiday, on a holiday package to then come home in a coffin, it’s wrong and somebody has to answer for what went wrong.

"When I see people out and about they’ll ask how we’re doing, how the kids are doing and will ask what happened and I tell them ‘I still don’t know’, and people are surprised that nobody has found the answer for me. We have a justice system in the UK so why is nobody finding out what happened?"

Kelly says the ongoing delays have left her and her family in limbo, she says without a date or end in sight, they still can’t grieve properly and put what happened behind them.

“It’s not being at peace. We live daily life and we are happy, and we are a happy family. We think about mum and dad every day and talk about our really happy memories," she said.

"They need to rest and without the answers of cause of death, I feel that they’re not at peace and I can’t rest.

“I’m very good at keeping the brick wall up and staying strong, I feel like I’ve got to be like that until we’ve got the answers.

"I know it’s not going to change anything; it’s not going to bring them back; our lives are still going to be the same, but we deserve to know what happened. Mum and Dad deserve those answers.

“We were having a really good holiday as we did every year as a family and then some freak thing happened, that should never have happened and should never happen to another family.

I need to know why they died and if it can be prevented from happening to another family”.A spokesperson for the foreign office said “We are supporting the family of a British couple who sadly died whilst on holiday in Egypt in August 2018.

"Our staff are in contact with HM Coroner and with the Egyptian authorities.”

The Ministry of Justice confirmed they remain in contact with the coroner and foreign office but had nothing further to add.