Komba Kpakiwa and Josephine Foday's deaths 'could have been avoided' claim family (From News Shopper)
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Komba Kpakiwa and Josephine Foday's deaths in Essex hotel swimming pool 'could have been avoided' claim family
The family of an Erith man have said his death and that of a Plumstead woman could have been avoided had the hotel in which they drowned employed lifeguards.
Married father-of-two Komba Kpakiwa, aged 31, from Arthur Street, Erith and 22-year-old student nurse Josephine Foday of Bath Road, Plumstead were found floating face-down in the swimming pool of the Down Hall Country House Hotel in Essex on April 27 last year.
Mr Kpakiwa worked in the Co-op store in Erith and was studying law at a London university.
An inquest into the deaths at County Hall in Chelmsford heard that the swimmimg pool was not supervised by lifeguards and on the day the pair died an engineer had visited the hotel to remove the hard drive from a broken CCTV camera covering the pool.
Craig Vines, Deputy General Manager at Down Hall at the time of the incident, told the inquest that CCTV cameras around the pool were "not used as a monitoring tool but for reference."
Giving evidence, Leonard Tabner from Yorkshire said he had told a manager at Down Hall that he "could see somebody drowning in the pool" and that it was "dangerous" back in April 2012 after loosing his footing in an area of the swimming pool.
Mr Kpakiwa's sister, Angela Kpakiwa, said that her family will be seeking an apology from Down Hall and may seek legal action.
She said: "We feel their deaths could have been avoided if there had been a lifeguard or if they had listened to complaints that had been made a year earlier."
Describing her brother, Miss Kpakiwa said: "He was a happy person.
"He was always there if you went to talk to him. That's just the way he was."
Standing alongside her brothers, Sahr and Tamba, Miss Kpakiwa said the family did not know that her brother was in relationship with Miss Foday until after their deaths.
Tamba, who had travelled from Belgium to attend the inquest, said he had last spoken to his brother the day before his death but he had not mentioned his trip to visit Down Hall.
A jury of seven men and four women gave a verdict of accident and a medical cause of death was recorded as 'consistant with drowning.'
Senior coroner Caroline Beasley Murray told the inquest that she would be sending a report on dangerously designed swimming pools with sloping sides and a deep middle section - similar to that at Down Hall- to the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health and the Institution of Safety and Health.
She said: "The inquest has heard that the swimming pool has been closed and the court has been assured that it will not reopened.
"It has been said that there are few pools of this style but there my still be some in existence dating from the 1980s."
Geoff Smith, Head of Environmental Health said: “UDC is the health and safety enforcing authority for the hotel and has undertaken a full investigation of the incident and will be making a decision as to whether legal proceedings will be instigated in due course.
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