Inquests are due to open on Tuesday into the deaths of British couple John and Susan Cooper at a hotel in Egypt during a Thomas Cook holiday.

The Coopers, from Burnley in Lancashire, died on 21 August after they suddenly fell ill while staying at the Steigenberger Aqua Magic Hotel in the popular Red Sea resort of Hurghada.

Egyptian authorities have said their forensic examinations showed the deaths were linked to E coli bacteria, but that has been disputed by the couple’s daughter, Kelly Ormerod.

Subsequent post-mortem examinations carried out in the UK have not been able to determine the cause of their deaths. Further testing is being undertaken but results may not materialise for some time.

Egypt said examinations had shown Mr Cooper, 69, suffered acute intestinal dysentery caused by E coli and Mrs Cooper, a 63-year-old Thomas Cook employee, suffered a complication linked to infection, likely to have been caused by E coli.

Ms Ormerod, 40, who was on holiday with her parents and her own three children at the time, has said E coli does not explain the rapid nature of her mother and father’s sudden death.

The family have said they hope the coroner’s investigation will establish the “true cause” of death.

Thomas Cook’s own tests identified a high level of E coli at the hotel, which would “explain the raised level of illness reported among guests”.

However, the firm said the independent specialists it commissioned to carry out the tests, and Dr Vanya Gant from University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, did not believe the results “shed any light” on the cause of the Coopers’ deaths.

Thomas Cook moved 300 guests out of the hotel 24 hours after the couple died as a precaution.

The inquests are expected to be opened and adjourned at about midday at Preston Coroner’s Court.

Additional reporting by PA



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