Alison Sonnex and her husband Clive Eversfield, from Ramsgate, Kent, suffered vomiting and diarrhoea after the meal at the Royal Tulip beach resort in Egypt
A teacher fell violently ill and died within 24 hours of eating a meal on the last night of her holiday in Egypt.
Alison Sonnex and her husband Clive Eversfield, from Ramsgate, Kent, both fell sick after the meal at a restaurant in the Royal Tulip beach resort in Marsa Alam.
The couple suffered diarrhea and vomiting for seven hours, before Mrs Sonnex collapsed while they were attempting to leave in April last year, Kent Live reports.
Mr Eversfield, 60, said that as they walked to the foyer, while outside the restaurant, his 54-year-old wife collapsed.
He added: “I was not strong enough to hold her up.”
“Staff helped carry her.”
After being seen and given oxygen by the hotel doctor, she was taken to hospital where both of them were given catheters and put on drips.
Mr Eversfield said that for some his wife remained conscious and even had the wherewithal to text their neighbour to let them know she was in hospital and to feed the cat.
Yet after around two and a half hours, her conditionally suddenly deteriorated, and she found herself unable to speak.
Mr Eversfield said a doctor was called who tried and failed to insert a tube into her throat to allow her to breathe, though a physician later denied there was any delay in this process.
Mrs Sonnex was taken to the intensive care unit and around an hour and a half later, a doctor informed Mr Eversfield that despite prolonged resuscitation attempts they were unable to revive his wife.
Having twice gone into cardiac arrest, Mrs Sonnex was dead by the early evening.
“I was stunned,” said Mr Eversfield.
“I didn’t go on holiday to lose Alison.”
At an inquest at The Guildhall in Sandwich yesterday, it was heard Mr Eversfield, a retired engineer, had told police in an interview: “She died due to a drop in her blood circulation.”
He added, when directly asked, that he did not attribute criminal blame to any individual for her death.
During the inquest, he said he would not have known at the time, or have been in a fit state to know, how his wife had died.
He stated he was interviewed in hospital by the police two hours after Mrs Sonnex died, while he was still on a catheter drip.
Speaking about the police interview, he said: “I was asked to give a statement while in a state of shock.”
He added: “That statement, I think was taken under duress. I had just lost someone, it was a ridiculous time to interview someone.”
A holiday rep stated he had told police to “take it easy” on Mr Eversfield as he felt “the officer was being aggressive.”
While being transported to the interview with the state attorney later than night, it was heard he had had to share a car with the doctor who had treated his wife and was interviewed through an interpreter provided by Thomas Cook.
He refused to sign a written statement, not being able to read Arabic, and told the coroner: “It was implied to me that if I didn’t comply, I would not be able to leave. It was a bit awkward.”
When quizzed about this by a state attorney in a lengthy interview later that day that ran into the early hours of April 13, he clarified that he could not make a statement regarding criminal blame until an examination of the body had been completed.
Mrs Sonnex’s GP, Dr Imran Ali, said she had seen him in May 2017 for heartburn and had been on prescription medication until July of that month, with the only other relevant issue being a case of Diarrhoea ten years before her death.
He said: “She was fit and well.”
The pathologist who carried out the post-mortem examination in Egypt could not ascertain the direct cause of death but denied it was criminally suspicious.
He also ruled out any food poisoning as a possible cause of death, instead suggesting a “severe condition of the heart and lungs.”
He said: “It’s evident her health condition was unconnected to external factors.”
William Harvey Hospital pathologist Dr Kareem Aboualpha carried out a second post-mortem exam but conceded this was “not really helpful” as the fact one had already been conducted on her meant he did not have Mrs Sonnex’s entire body to examine.
While he could not say with any certainty, he believed her death was caused by gastroenteritis, feeling that the doctors’ treatment was appropriate.
He added it was possible an unknown underlying medical condition may have been the reason Mrs Sonnex was affected more severely than her husband.
He stated he could not state with certainty what caused the gastroenteritis but food poisoning was one possibility, with others being a norovirus or inhalation of an aerosol, and Mrs Sonnex or Mr Eversfield may have contracted it first then passed it on to their spouse.
During the initial autopsy, a tear was found on her heart, and it was heard if this tear happened before her death it would have soon killed her, though it may have been caused during resuscitation or during the autopsy.
The hotel’s general manager stated food poisoning would be impossible as none of the hotel’s 540 other guests reported experiencing this, something which Mr Eversfield challenged during the inquest, sating others had reported symptoms.
The hotel doctor told officers he found food poisoning unlikely as no other guests had complained of it and Mrs Sonnex did not show symptoms of it, which he said included raised body temperature, vomiting and diarrhoea, while examining her.
Mr Eversfield mentioned in the inquest that the pair had noticed two hotel rooms close to theirs had been taped up during their stay, but had not included this detail in his statements given in Egypt, which were given while in a shocked and weary state.
He added that there was a “smell of cleaning fluid” from the entryway to the area.
An advocate for Thomas Cook stated that the taped rooms had been undergoing “general refurbishment”, and that emulsion gloss, varnish and cleaning products would have been used inside.
Nicola Dowsett, a fellow guest staying at the hotel at the same time as the couple, said neither she, nor anyone else there she knew of there showed symptoms of food poisoning.
She said the food and hygiene at the were of a generally good standard, though a waiter had gone around swatting flies in the restaurant with an electrified “tennis racket”-like item.
She had seen staff taking mattresses out of rooms but when her husband asked the reason for this, they explained it was because they were being replace by double mattresses
She added that throughout her visit, a group of men in white coats who did not appear to be part of the hotel regularly inspected a swimming pool grate, and after the pool had closed one evening, had poured white powder into it.
It was not stated what this powder may have been.
The inquest concludes today.