Daughter of Burnley couple who died in Egyptian holiday resort still no nearer to finding answers to the tragedy one year on

John and Susan Cooper who died while on holiday in Egypt one year ago.
John and Susan Cooper who died while on holiday in Egypt one year ago.

The daughter of a popular and well known Burnley couple, who died on holiday in Egypt one year ago this week, is still no closer to finding answers as how the tragedy happened.

And Kelly Ormerord has said she feels 'frustrated and very angry.'

Kelly Ormerod with her mum, Susan Cooper.

Kelly Ormerod with her mum, Susan Cooper.

Kelly was holidaying with her parents, John and Susan Cooper, in the Red Sea resort of Hurghada when they died suddenly after becoming ill while staying at the Steigenberger Aqua Magic Hotel.

Kelly, who also had her three children with her at the time, said: "We are still no closer to getting any answers as to what happened to mum and dad after all this time.

"Someone is to blame and we need to know officially. It feels like 12 months on it has been forgotten and nothing else is being done."

When the devoted couple failed to turn up for breakfast one morning Kelly went to their room where she found them both seriously ill.

Doctors were called to the room, but Mr Cooper collapsed and died. Mrs Cooper subsequently had a heart attack in an ambulance and could not be revived.

Forensic examinations carried out by authorities in Egypt reported the cause of deaths as being linked to E.coli bacteria.

But Kelly has always been doubtful about that conclusion and still believes her parents' deaths are linked to carbon monoxide poisoning.

But at a pre-inquest hearing at Preston Coroner's Court in May part of a preliminary expert report from Dr Nick Gent, a senior medical advisor at Public Health England, suggested neither radiation, natural causes, carbon monoxide poisoning nor food poisoning caused the couples' deaths.

While the cause of death is still unknown, Dr Gent's view pointed towards the cause of death most likely to be exposure to 'infectious biological agent or toxic chemicals.'

At the time the British authorities were still awaiting all the necessary medical and other reports from the Egyptian authorities to definitely establish the cause of death.

This was despite 13 requests, over six months, including one from the UK Ambassador to Egypt for the evidence so the coroner can establish what happened and what caused the deaths.

A further pre-inquest hearing is due to take place possibly in October.

But senior coroner Dr James Adeley has said that requests to foreign countries 'can take months and even years.'

This summer Kelly and her three children, Molly, Jessica and Jackson were joined by the rest of their family for a holiday on the Greek island of Lesvos.

It was a place John (69) and 63-year-old Susan had visited regularly for the last 18 years and in honour of their memory Kelly and her family spread some of their ashes in the ocean in a moving ceremony.

She said: "It was emotional but also nice to remember them and we plan to go back there every year and hopefully it will get easier each time."

A Thomas Cook spokesperson said: "Our deepest condolences remain with Kelly Ormerod and her family after the tragic deaths of her mum and dad, Susan and John Cooper last year.

"A number of important questions remain unanswered surrounding the circumstances of their deaths. We are cooperating fully with the coroner’s investigation and the Steigenberger Aqua Magic remains off sale to any of our customers, from the UK and the rest of Europe, indefinitely.

"We continue to offer support to Kelly Ormerod and her family."

Married in 1975, the couple met at the former Hop nightclub in Burnley where John worked as a doorman.

The son of a miner, John attended St Mary’s Primary and the former Towneley High schools. He also worked as a window cleaner before going into the building trade, launching his own business, Safe As Houses, which specialised in building properties and extensions.

A keen diver, John, who was affectionately known as “Cooperman” also enjoyed pot holing and clay pigeon shooting and he shot for the England team.

A freemason, he was a member of the Abbey lodge at Whalley.

Nelson born Susan was a former pupil at Walverden Infants, St John’s Primary and the former Mansfield High schools.

Susan, had worked for Thomas Cook travel agents in Burnley town centre for many years but before that she worked for Holt’s Shoes in Nelson, ATS Tyres and was the Estee Lauder representative in Debenhams, Blackburn.