A Thomas Cook travel agent and her husband who died while on a Thomas Cook holiday in Egypt might have been killed by fumes they inhaled, a UK court has heard.
The findings of an interim report into the deaths of Susan and John Cooper by Public Health England were revealed at a pre-inquest hearing in Preston.
It said the couple could have been exposed to ‘an infectious biological agent or toxic chemicals’.
However, the coroner said there was not yet enough information to hold a full inquest.
John, aged 69, and Susan, 63, died suddenly last August while on holiday in Hurghada.
The original post-mortem carried out in Egypt said their deaths were linked to E.Coli, a form of food poisoning, but a British post-mortem proved inconclusive.
A preliminary report by Dr Nick Gent suggested neither radiation, natural causes, carbon monoxide poisoning nor food poisoning caused the couple’s deaths.
While the cause is still unknown, Dr Gent told the court it was most likely exposure to an ‘infectious biological agent or toxic chemicals’.
However, British authorities have still not received all the medical and other reports from Egypt needed to definitively establish the cause of death, the court heard.
The government has made 13 unsuccessful attempts to obtain documents from Egypt, including meetings involving the country’s ministers of foreign affairs and tourism.
The court heard that the couple had noticed an acetone-type smell in their room on the evening of August 20. Their granddaughter, who had been staying in the same room, moved to her mum Kelly Ormerod’s room instead because of the smell.
Hotel records showed housekeeping had been called to the Coopers’ room at least three times on the day before they died and the room next door had been fumigated.
Coroner Dr James Adeley asked lawyers representing the hotel and Thomas Cook for a raft of documents ahead of a full inquest.
He also requested the hotel’s air conditioning maintenance logs, as there were discrepancies in the records he had received.