Update: Swimming pool deaths: Names of victims revealed

Down Hall

Down Hall - Credit: Archant

ONE of two people thought to have drowned in a hotel swimming pool had been celebrating her 22nd birthday, an inquest has heard.

Josephine Newahun Foday, 22, from London, and Komba Kpakiwa, 31, of Erith, Kent, were found floating face down in the pool at Down Hall Country House Hotel in Hatfield Heath at about 7.35pm on Saturday evening (April 27).

Both had been seen alive just 15 minutes before they were discovered by another hotel guest. Police are not treating their deaths as suspicious.

Separate inquests into the pair’s deaths were opened and adjourned by Eleanor McGann, deputy coroner for Essex, at New Bridge House in Chelmsford today (Tuesday).

Coroner’s officer Debbie Frost told Chelmsford Coroner’s Court that Ms Foday, who turned 22 the day before her death, was at the hotel celebrating her birthday.

She said Ms Foday had been out shopping during the day and returned to her hotel room to change before going to the pool area.

The inquest heard Mr Kpakiwa was also staying at the hotel for a birthday celebration. He had been out during the day and returned in the early evening.

Most Read

Having been to his room to change, Mr Kpakiwa also went to the swimming pool.

Mrs Frost told how a hotel guest had seen both Mr Kpakiwa and Ms Foday as he left the pool area. He returned 15 minutes later and saw them both face down in the swimming pool.

He summoned help but despite the attendance of an ambulance and the police, the pair were confirmed dead.

Provisional results of post-mortem examinations carried out yesterday (Monday) suggested the deaths were consistent with drowning. However, the inquest was told that further analysis was required and that the bodies would not be released until this had been completed.

The coroner adjourned both inquests to an unspecified date.

Manager of Down Hall Country House Hotel, Chris Falcus, said: “We wish to reiterate our condolences to the friends and families of the lady and gentleman concerned.

“Both myself and the team at the hotel are deeply upset by what has happened.

“The results of the post-mortem examination have concluded that the deaths of the two people were consistent with drowning, which puts an end to inappropriate speculation about our facilities.”

Reports in the national media have suggested police were originally following a line of inquiry that gas poisoning could have been a factor in the deaths of Mr Kpakiwa and Ms Foday.

However, this has not been confirmed by Essex Police and the initial results of the post-mortem examinations make no reference to this.

Officers are reportedly focusing on the relationship between the victims as part of their investigation.