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article imageMurder mystery weekend turns real in UK luxury hotel, with 2 dead

By Anne Sewell     Apr 29, 2013 in World
Hatfield Heath - A couple staying at a luxury country hotel in England were found dead in the swimming pool. Guests thought the police that responded were "part of the action." The couple were Josephine Foday and Komba Kpakiwa.
The Down Hall Country Hotel in Hatfield Heath, on the border of Essex and Hertfordshire, was the scene of a murder mystery this weekend, and during the weekend a man in his 30's and a woman in her 20's were found dead in the swimming pool.
Police and paramedics were called to the hotel at around 7:35 pm on Saturday. However, despite the best efforts of both hotel employees and the paramedics to revive the couple, they were pronounced dead on the scene.
Chris Falcus, the hotel's manager said, "We are devastated by this tragic incident and our thoughts are with the families and friends of those concerned."
"As soon as the alarm was raised two of our team dived into the pool and did everything they could to try and save them."
"We are cooperating fully with the police investigation," he added.
Police are apparently not seeking anyone in connection with the two deaths. A police spokesman said that. "Officers from the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate are treating the deaths as unexplained."
According to Chief Inspector Nick Lee, speaking at the Great Dunmow police station, the victims were staying at the hotel together, although their relationship is still unclear.
"As part of the investigation we are trying to focus on what the relationship was between the victims," he said.
"The families have been notified and are devastated by this tragedy and are currently being given support by Essex police."
"The deceased were found by a member of staff in their swimwear and were not part of a wedding party at the hotel."
The spokesman added that Essex police are waiting for the coroner to allow the identities of two parties to be released and post-mortem examinations are due to be carried out on Monday.
The hotel is a 99-bedroom mansion dating back to 1322, set in 110 acres of woodland, landscape gardens and parkland. According to its website, Down Hall calls itself "one of England’s most established country house hotels."
Among the events it regularly hosts is a murder mystery weekend and one was running this particular weekend.
Morven Philip, a guest who arrived at the hotel on Sunday morning to take part in a murder mystery weekend, told the Mirror she at first believed that the police on the scene were fake.
"There were police and press at the entrance and we thought it was a fantastically realistic event," she said.
"It was only then that the police told us there had been a real incident and two people were dead."
"The hotel had left us a voicemail message which we hadn’t picked up," she added.
Chief Inspector Lee was asked if the victims were attending any of the functions ongoing at the hotel, to which he replied, "It's a very busy hotel, there were a number of functions going on."
"At the moment we haven't ascertained as to whether these individuals were part of any function or not."
Update April 30, 2013:
After a provisional postmortem examination of the bodies, Essex police have found their deaths were consistent with drowning. A spokesman said, "Detectives are continuing to investigate the circumstances leading up to their deaths but are treating them as non-suspicious."
"Further routine tests will be undertaken and a report will be prepared for the HM Coroner's inquest hearing."
He added that the couple will not be identified until the inquest into their deaths has been opened.
Update 2 - April 30, 2013:
The couple has now been named as Josephine Foday, who was celebrating her 22nd birthday, and 31-year-old Komba Kpakiwa.
Foday was a second-year nursing student at Canterbury University from Sierra Leone who lived in Plumstead, south east London, with her grandmother Theresa Farma.
Miss Foday met Mr Kpakiwa, a married father of two, in February at her local Co-Op supermarket where he worked as a team manager while studying law.
The couple were swimming together when the incident happened. Police say that there are no suspicious circumstances to the deaths by drowning.
Chris Falcus, manager of Down Hall Country Hotel told the media: "We wish to reiterate our condolences to the friends and families of the lady and gentleman concerned.
"Both myself and the team at the hotel are deeply upset by what has happened."
"The results of the post-mortem examination have concluded that the deaths of the two people were consistent with drowning, which puts an end to inappropriate speculation about our facilities."
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