Poison Link To British Pensioner Deaths In Thailand

Pathologists were today examining the bodies of  two  British pensioners who died in a holiday hotel – just days after three young New Zealanders collaped there in a fatal attack of alleged food poisoning.

Pensioners George and Eileen Everitt from Boston, Lincs, were found dead in the Downtown Inn in the northern capital of Chiang Mai at the weekend days after a 23-yr-old New Zealand woman, who was also staying at the hotel, died allegedly of food poisoning and her two friends sharing the same room were taken seriously ill.

Tests on the bodies of Mr. and Mrs. Everitt are being conducted at Maharat Chiang Mai Hospital. The news of the deaths was not released until late Tuesday.

Chiang Mai Police Captain Wichian Chompu said the bodies were discovered in Room 423 of the three star Downtown Inn in Chiang Mai.

There were no signs of violence or any signs of medication indicating they might have taken their own lives.

‘We do not want to speculate on the cause of death but if there has been any poisoning it should be revealed in medical tests.’

The couple had been staying at the hotel since February 9th the same day New Zealander Sarah Carter, 23, died of food poisoning, which initially, police said, was caused by eating toxic seaweed in a meal at Chiang Mai’s Night Bazaar.

Sarah Katherine Carter, from Auckland died early on February 9th at Chiang Mai Ram Hospital. A friend, Amanda Eliason, 24, who, police said, also ate ‘toxic seaweed’  recovered after emergency heart surgery.

A third New Zealand woman in their group, Emma Langlands, 23, who ordered a different meal from a stall in a food market at Chiang Mai’s Night Bazaar, also suffered food poisoning but later recovered.

At the time the hotel manager said that Miss Carter had called reception asking for a doctor:’I went to see them in their room. There were three girls throwing up. One would throw up and go back to bed and then the other would go. They looked very tired. I recommended they go to hospital [but] they said, ‘No, can the doctor come [here]?”

When the doctor arrived he immediately organised for them to be taken to hospital.

 It now appears that the ‘toxic seaweed’ story was a red herring.

‘This is most unusual we are trying to establish the cause of the poisoning,’ Chiang Mai public health chief Wattana Kanchanakamol said.

Carter’s devastated father Richard said the hospital had called when his daughter was admitted and he had talked to her. As a result his wife had caught a flight to Thailand but he had to inform her of their daughter’s death as she transited Bangkok.

‘It appeared to be just bad food poisoning. She appeared withdrawn and not sounding that good, but seemed all right. But within an hour of our conversation the thing just spread to her heart and strangled her heart.’

Mr Carter said toxic seaweed had since been ruled out as the cause of the food poisoning and tests were still continuing. He believed his daughter may have died after eating a curry. He did not say where.

Now Thai police are being  asked to refocus their investigation on the hotel’s kitchen and ventilation system.

Some 15 people have died in Thailand from eating poisonous Puffer Fish which had been coloured to look like salmon.

The owners of the Downtown Inn in Chiang Mai also own  the newly built Park Hotel and the four star Empress Hotel in Chiang Mai.

Pictures: Boem