British couple John and Susan Cooper die after staying next to room in Egypt hotel treated for bed bugs hours before

7 November 2023, 21:47

John and Susan Cooper
John and Susan Cooper. Picture: Facebook

By Kit Heren

A British couple who died on holiday in Egypt were staying next to a hotel room that had been treated for bed bugs only a few hours earlier, an inquest has heard.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

Burnley couple John and Susan Cooper, aged 69 and 63, died after staying at the Steigenberger Aqua Magic Hotel in the Red Sea resort of Hurghada, Blackburn Coroner's Court heard.

A report heard at a previous hearing suggested that they didn't die either from carbon monoxide poisoning or food poisoning.

The report said possible exposure to an "infectious biological agent or toxic chemicals" could have caused their deaths.

And a German tourist at the hearing on Tuesday said that the room next to the Coopers had been treated for bed bugs, after he reported an infestation.

Read more: Hotel worker dies in pool at luxury spa resort in Scotland

Read more: Boy, 10, dies after being electrocuted in reception area of Blackpool hotel

The couple fell ill and died the next day.

Kelly Ormerod, the Coopers' daughter, said her parents, a builder and travel agent worker respectively, were fit and healthy for their age.

She said they had been enjoying a "brilliant" holiday with her, their three grandchildren and family friends.

Her mother had been to the same hotel in April that year and described it as "fabulous", and decided to go back with the whole family.

They had all been to the hotel restaurant on the evening of August 20 before going to bed.

Ms Ormerod's daughter, Molly, then aged 12, was staying on a single bed in her grandparents' room, which she said had a "yeasty smell". But at 1am Mr Cooper rang to say she was feeling a little unwell and he escorted his granddaughter to her mother's room in an upper floor.

The next morning, Mr and Mrs Cooper failed to emerge for breakfast, so Ms Ormerod went to their ground floor room, 5107, to discover the pair were seriously ill.

Ms Ormerod said her father came to the door saying: "I really don't feel very well," with him retching and screwing his face up.

"He just literally slumped and sat on the corner of the bed and said: 'I'm really not well," Ms Ormerod told the hearing.

She said her mother was in bed, "groaning", with vomit in her hair and around the room, where she noticed a strange "heavy" smell.

Two doctors were summoned but they were in "panic mode", Ms Ormerod said, as her parents further deteriorated and her father struggled to breathe.

Tearfully, Ms Ormerod added: "His eyes kind of... a glazed, staring look."

CPR was attempted but Mr Cooper was declared dead on the hotel room floor and his wife was taken to a clinic at the hotel where she became "super agitated" and delirious, the inquest heard.

Mrs Cooper was taken to hospital by ambulance but declared dead at 4.12pm.

Both were returned to the UK in sealed, zinc-lined coffins, the inquest heard.

A statement was read from Dominik Bibi, a truck despatcher from Germany, who arrived with seven family members in the early hours of August 20.

Mr Bibi said his mother-in-law, who used a wheelchair, was booked to stay in room 5106, the ground-floor room next to the Cooper's room.

His statement added: "On entering I immediately noticed a funny smell, like that of mould or damp.

"There was a lot of bed bugs in the bed and under it."

He said a cleaner and night manager came and apologised and his mother-in-law took his and his wife's room, further down the corridor at 5102.

Hours later around lunchtime he was outside her room when he saw three men, two wearing the hotel uniform and the other with a two or three litre pesticide canister he assumed being used to get rid of the bed bugs.

After five or 10 minutes they left the room and used masking tape to tape up around the door and seal the room.

"I would not say the job was very professional," Mr Bibi's statement continued.

He said that day, the air conditioning in the hotel was not working and a cleaner told the family the hotel was undertaking maintenance on the system.

He said he himself and other members of his family were unwell, but he expected that during a holiday in Egypt.

More Latest News

See more More Latest News

Meghan has insisted she didn't leak the names of the royals at the centre of the race scandal to Omid Scobie

Meghan insists she didn't leak names of royals at centre of race row to Endgame author Omid Scobie

Children look at a washing machine. British Gas customers can get paid to reduce their energy this evening

Nearly half-a-million British Gas customers can get paid to reduce energy this evening

Pontins' Prestatyn and Camber Sands sites are set to shut with “immediate effect”

Pontins closes holiday parks with 'immediate effect' leaving Brits ‘heartbroken’ and holidays in disarray

Aslef train drivers have voted to go on strike

Rail misery continues as train drivers vote to go on strike for another six months

Police powers are minimising the effectiveness of protests - with groups like Just Stop Oil now being arrested within just 10 seconds.

Police powers are minimising the effectiveness of protests with eco-groups arrested within seconds

Nepal Same Sex Marriage

Nepalese couple vow to continue campaigning after same-sex marriage recognised

Mehmet Koray Alpergin (right) and Gozde Dalbudak (left) were snatched as they returned home from an Italian restaurant in Mayfair, central London, last October, the Old Bailey was told

Thugs guilty of killing DJ after torturing him to death while kidnapped partner heard his dying screams

Madagascar Election

Madagascar’s top court ratifies presidential election result after boycott

Susan Hall said her wallet had been stolen and the incident was an example of crime being out of control in London

'She dropped it': Good Samaritan who returned Susan Hall's 'stolen' wallet reveals he found it between Tube seats

Aslef union has promised rolling strikes between 1 and 9 December

Will your train journey be affected over the Christmas period? December strikes explained

King Charles warned Cop28 that the 'hope of the world' rested on the Dubai summit's shoulders today

'Hope of the world' rests on Dubai climate summit, King Charles tells Cop28

A Met Police officer tasered a 10-year-old girl

Father of girl, 10, tasered by police says officer's actions are a 'green light to go around tasering anybody'

Dozens of schools have been forced to close amid the snowfall

Dozens of UK schools forced to close as Brits wake up to snow - see the full list

Japan US Osprey Crash

Japan voices concern about US military using Osprey aircraft after fatal crash

Thousands of families face being kicked out of their homes ahead of Christmas

'It's about not having anywhere for my kids to sleep': 12,500 families face eviction by Christmas

Engineers were called to the scene after an overhead cable failing left 700 passengers without power or working toilets.

‘Inhumane’ conditions as Eurostar passengers stranded for eight hours without toilets or power