British couple died in hotel after room next door was fumigated for bed bugs

John and Susan Cooper had been enjoying a 'brilliant' holiday with their daughter, their three grandchildren and family friends when they died.

British couple died in hotel after room next door was fumigated for bed bugs
john and susan cooper thtomas cook hotel death facebook
John and Susan Cooper died while on holiday with their daughter, grandchildren and family friends (Picture: Facebook)

A couple on holiday in Egypt died after the hotel room next to theirs was fumigated with chemicals to kill bed bugs.

John Cooper, 69, and his 63-year-old wife Susan died on August 21, 2018 while staying at the Steigenberger Aqua Magic Hotel in the Red Sea resort of Hurghada.

An inquest into their deaths is taking place this week and heard an expert report suggested the couple may have died due to possible exposure to an ‘infectious biological agent or toxic chemicals’.

During the inquest at Blackburn coroner’s court, a statement from a German tourist said he reported a bed bug infestation in the room next door to the Coopers, who were from Burnley in Lancashire.

The room was treated with a pesticide called Lambda at lunchtime, with the couple falling ill in the early hours of the next morning and dying the next day.

The German tourist, Dominik Bibi, saw staff fumigating the room and using masking tape around the door to seal the room, and added: ‘I would not say the job was very professional.’

The two hotel rooms had an adjoining door, but this was locked.

Kelly Ormerod, the Coopers’ daughter, described her parents as fit and healthy for their age who had been enjoying a ‘brilliant’ holiday with her, their three grandchildren and family friends when they died.

Aqua Magic hotel in HurghadaCredit: Booking.com
The family returned to the hotel after Susan stayed earlier that year and really enjoyed it (Picture: Booking.com)

Mr Cooper, a builder, and Susan, a bureau de change cashier, enjoyed several holidays a year, according to Ms Ormerod, a civil servant with HMRC.

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.

On the evening of the August 20 they all went to the hotel restaurant and a bar, before retiring for the evening.

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.

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.

The hearing has been adjourned until later this morning.

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