Couple’s Thai hotel death remains a mystery

Obit
Obit

A GRIEVING family will never know for certain how an elderly Boston couple came to die in their Thai hotel room together, even though experts fear they could have been poisoned by carbon monoxide.

George Everitt, 78, and wife Eileen, 74, of Monteith Crescent, were both found dead in their bedroom at the Downtown Inn in Chiang Mai on February 19 this year.

Coroner Maureen Taylor was forced to deliver an open verdict at their joint inquest on Friday after a Home Office pathologist had been unable to be certain over the cause of death.

She said: “It is apparent the reason for their deaths may never be known.

“What, for them, started as an enjoyable holiday in Thailand has ended in tragedy and my sympathies lie with the family who may never find the answers to the questions they have.”

The pair were among five other foreign tourists who died in Thailand within the same month and the authorities conducted investigations to see if the cases could be linked. Two of the other deaths were also in the same hotel.

An inquest at Spalding Magistrates’ Court heard how the couple went to bed on February 17 after using the hotel pool.

They placed a ‘do not disturb’ sign on their door which meant staff did not bother them the next morning but by the day after became concerned.

They forced their way into the room through a window and found the couple dead.

Staff presumed the pair had committed suicide but later found that they had both died of heart attacks and tests were carried out across the world to rule out a host of possible explanations.

Their bodies were returned to the UK and Home Office pathologists conducted their own tests on April 13. Professor Guy Rutty said the pair had a lot of fluid on their lungs but found neither had a history of heart disease.

Professor Rutty told the inquest: “It would be incredibly coincidental to have two people have a heart attack at the same time – that would suggest an environmental intoxicant, the commonest form of that is carbon monoxide.”

Professor Rutty said it did not appear that the Thai authorities had tested for carbon monoxide, one of the first things that would have been explored if the deaths had happened in the UK, so he could not be certain.

He felt the other deaths, including an American, French woman and a New Zealander may have been linked at the time because they were all tourists, and one would have almost certainly died of her existing condition.

Son Stephen Everitt told the inquest he found it odd that his parents would put up a ‘do not disturb’ sign because they liked to make the most of their holidays.

Speaking after the hearing he said: “I would like to thank everyone at the British end for their help. Everyone has done their bit to try to find out what caused it but as you’ve seen it is an open verdict.

“There were five deaths in a month, the first on January 19 and my parents on February 19 – that should set alarm bells.”

It is not thought that anyone else has died in similar circumstances at the hotel since.