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Woman who collapsed and died at stables owned by Michael Owen identified as 25-year-old beauty queen
29 March 2023, 15:23
A woman who collapsed and died at stables owned by Michael Owen has been identified as a 25-year-old beauty queen.
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Jessica Whalley died at the stables, which are owned by ex-Liverpool and England football star Michael Owen, on Tuesday.
Emergency services attended the scene at around 7.30am, but Ms Whalley was pronounced dead.
Police said the death is not being treated as suspicious and her next of kin have been informed.
Mr Owen and staff members at Manor House Stables were left "in tears" after she collapsed and could not be revived by paramedics.
It’s heartbreaking to hear Jess lost her life today at the tender age of 25. She was riding out doing what she loved. We had so many great times working in Dubai. May she rest in peace. Here’s her just 72 hours ago. 😔 pic.twitter.com/WE491wmVu4— Zander Voy (@Zander_Voy) March 28, 2023
Ms Whalley was transport manager at the stables but is also understood to have worked for Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai, UAE, who owns a large international network of thoroughbred stables.
One of her friends, Jessica Mair, posted on Facebook: "So sad seeing him [Michael Owen] and all his staff in tears today ... after such a shock to them ... such a young age, no health problems 25 is no age... life really is too short for we never really know how long we have... thoughts go out to her family and friends."
Ms Whalley, who has been named locally, was understood to have described herself as "travelling head person" at the stables.
In 2019, she represented the UK in the Miss Tourism Universe pageant, screened on MTV and held in Beirut, making it into the final 10 contestants.
Manor House stables confirmed the incident on Tuesday evening.
A statement read: "It is with deep sadness that we have to announce that a much-valued member of our team died at work this morning.
"The family have been informed and both the family and the team at Manor House request privacy at this time."
Responding to the news, one Twitter user said: "My condolences to family and all at MHS , thoughts with you all at this difficult time."
Trainers Fergal O'Brien and Graeme McPherson, said: "Thoughts with all involved."
A third person tweeted: "How tragic, condolences to you all and all who knew the team member, especially their family."
Mr Owen, 43, who played for Liverpool and Real Madrid during his sports career, opened his stables in 2006.
His daughter, Love Island star Gemma Owen, is an international dressage champion but her horse, called Sirius Black, died suddenly in February 2023.