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Steigenberger Aqua Magic / Thomas Cook

Mystery deepens over Hurghada deaths

E. coli or a powerful insecticide may have been to blame, but a full investigation into the deaths of a Cook agent and her husband may take months.

A full investigation into the deaths of Thomas Cook agent Susan Cooper and her husband John in the Egyptian resort of Hurghada could take months, legal experts warn.

Concerns about the case mean that an evaluation of findings of the post mortem in Egypt “may take some weeks or possibly several months to analyse”, says Dr James Adeley, a senior coroner for Lancashire, UK, where the couple lived.

Results from Egypt, which said that the Coopers died of complications associated with E. coli poisoning, will be compared with those of the UK investigation, he told London’s Evening Standard.

The Coopers’ daughter Kelly Ormerod, who was also staying at the hotel, has disputed the Egyptian authorities’ findings.

Thomas Cook has already said it will examine the Egyptians’ full report, adding: “We will need time for our own experts to review it,” TTG reports.

Steigenberger Hotels, which operates the Aqua Magic hotel where the family were staying, said it had put in place extra quality checks. But chief executive Thomas Wilms now says: “We are in intensive discussions about our future relationship with our operating partners at the Hotel Aqua Magic.”

Powerful insecticide
Besides the Egyptian post-mortem examinations showing E. coli bacteria to be the cause of the death and Cook’s own tests finding a high level of E. coli at the hotel, there have also been suggestions the couple were exposed to a powerful insecticide hours before they fell ill.

Ormerod claims there was an unusual smell in their room on the morning they were taken ill.

The Times newspaper discovered that the room next to the Coopers’ had been fumigated with an insecticide, lambda-Cyhalothrin, shortly before the couple died.

The layout of the rooms meant that the only escape route for the fumes was into their room, the paper said.

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