UPDATE: Man told hotel management he 'could have drowned' in Down Hall pool a year before deaths

The swimming pool at Down Hall Country House Hotel

UPDATE: Man told hotel management he 'could have drowned' in Down Hall pool a year before deaths

First published in News
Last updated
News Shopper: Photograph of the Author by , reporter

An inquest into the death of an Erith man and a Plumstead woman found dead in a hotel swimming pool has heard that a member of the public had complained to management that he "could have drowned" in the pool a year earlier.

Josephine Foday, aged 22, of Plumstead and Komba Kpakiwa, aged 31, from Erith were found dead at Down Hall Country House Hotel in Hatfield Heath, Essex on April 27 last year.

The inquest, taking place at County Hall in Chelmsford in front of a jury of 11 - seven men and four women - heard that Leonard Tabner had made a complaint to staff at Down Hall on April 5 after losing his footing in the hotel's 2.1 metre deep pool.

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Mr Tabner spoke of how he had asked at the hotel's reception to use the pool and was escorted there by a member of staff who "seemed more concerned" that he "should use the right towels rather than anything else."

He was then escorted to the pool where he was told to "have a good swim" and left alone.

Mr Tabner, from Yorkshire, told the inquest: "I splashed about getting wet and I started to make my way towards the other end of the pool. The floor seemed to fall away and I went right out of my depth.

"The slope was too deep. I was out of my depth and I failed to regain the surface. There was nothing to cling on to.

"I could have drowned. I was very shaken."

Mr Tabner said that he complained to the hotel's manager about the pool following his swim and again when he and his wife checked out of the hotel the following day but didn't believe any action was taken.

He added: "I said that if something wasn't done that I could see somebody drowning in that swimming pool.

"They said they would look in to it."

It also emerged that the pool had not been used since the deaths of Mr Kpakiwa and Miss Foday.

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The inquest, which is expected to finish tomorrow, continues.

Comments (1)

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7:58am Thu 15 May 14

paulthepole says...

Is this man for real? He was told to have a good swim and then left alone. What did he want? Armbands? His own private lifeguard? Flipper on stand-by? Unless he's three years old (and I guess not given that he's married) the workings of a swimming pool should not be beyond him. They do tend to be deeper at one end than the other. My wife many years ago used to take my children swimming at Down Hall and there was never a problem. Seems that no one wants to take any responsibility for their own welfare any more.
Is this man for real? He was told to have a good swim and then left alone. What did he want? Armbands? His own private lifeguard? Flipper on stand-by? Unless he's three years old (and I guess not given that he's married) the workings of a swimming pool should not be beyond him. They do tend to be deeper at one end than the other. My wife many years ago used to take my children swimming at Down Hall and there was never a problem. Seems that no one wants to take any responsibility for their own welfare any more. paulthepole
  • Score: 1

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