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Tests show E coli killed British tourist couple in Egypt

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The deaths of a British couple who were staying at a hotel in Egypt’s Red Sea resort of Hurghada were caused by E coli bacteria, according to test results released by Egypt’s chief prosecutor on Wednesday.

John Cooper, 69, had acute intestinal dysentery caused by E coli, and 63-year-old Susan Cooper had haemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), probably because of E coli, said the Egyptian general prosecutor Nabil Sadek.

He said the couple’s bodies showed “no criminal violence”; other tests on air and water at the hotel found nothing unusual. Thomas Cook evacuated 300 guests from the hotel as a precaution.

Their daughter, Kelly Ormerod, who was with them the night before they died, has said they used perfume to mask a strange odour in the room.

The forensic report denied there had been any leakage of harmful gases into the room. However, it detailed how the “unknown smell” noticed by Ormerod was “due to a leak of insecticide used in the next room”.

The report added that the insecticide, lambda-cyhalothrin, a chemical commonly used to control pests in home gardening or in agriculture to prevent insects eating crops, was safe to use, and denied that it had anything to do with the deaths.

The report added that the postmortems showed John Cooper died from a cardiac arrest after blockages to an estimated 80% of the veins in his heart. He also tested positive for the E coli bacteria, which caused the vomiting and diarrhoea he experienced shortly before his death. The report adds that he had consumed alcohol and hash, a kind of marijuana. There is no indication in the report that either contributed to his death.

Read also: Hundreds of tourists evacuated from Egypt hotel after two deaths

Susan Cooper is detailed in the report as suffering from Hemolytic uremic syndrome, a condition that affects blood vessels and blood, and often occurs after people are infected with E coli. The report mentions that it was suggested that she contracted E coli “as she was staying with her husband and had eaten the same food”.

The report also states that at 11.30am on the day they died, the Coopers’ daughter called doctors in the hotel to examine her parents. John Cooper was experiencing diarrhoea and vomiting and the “doctors gave him medicine they thought was appropriate, this being Ringer’s solution (rehydration salts) and a dexamethasone injection, a corticosteroid”. His condition worsened and he died in his room.

Ormerod said she had “no faith” in the Egyptian authorities’ claims, saying she wanted more transparency and would wait for the results of tests done by the UK Home Office before coming to any conclusions about how her parents died.

“Thomas Cook put a report out that there were high levels of E coli at the hotel. Whether the Egyptians have honed in on that, I have no idea.”

She expressed doubt that anyone could die so shortly after exposure to the bacteria, accusing the Egyptian authorities of seeking a quick answer in order to protect the nation’s tourism industry.

“I don’t know what tests they have done. The report I have seen, from the media, not sent to me, was very, very brief … Exactly what have they tested for?”

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South African serial rapist gets four life imprisonment terms

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A South African serial rapist and killer, Philani Justice Nkosi, has been sentenced to four life imprisonment terms by a Mpumalanga High Court for rape and murder.

The court also sentenced the 35-year-old to 15 years imprisonment after he was found guilty of murdering one of his victims who recognised him.

Nkosi was sentenced on Friday after the court found him guilty of one count of murder, three counts of rape and robbery with aggravating circumstances.

National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson, Monica Nyuswa, who expressed satisfaction with the sentence, said Nkosi committed the offences between 2014 and 2018 in Bhuga Trust and Halfway Trust in KaBokweni.

“In one incident which stands out, the accused attacked a 12-year-old victim while she was on the way to the local shop. He dragged her to the nearby bush, raped and strangled her to death,” Nyuswa said.

“He also raped another woman in March 2016, stabbed and robbed her of cash.

“The accused continued with his crime spree until December 2018 when he raped an adult woman who was on her way home from work.

“The matter was reported to the police, and the accused was subsequently arrested and linked to other crimes through DNA,” Nyuswa said.

Nkosi who pleaded not guilty to the crimes, claimed the two rape survivors were prostitutes and that the deceased was his girlfriend.

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Tanzanian court sentences 11 people to death for killing South African conservationist

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A Tanzanian High Court has sentenced 11 people to death after they were found guilty of killing a South African conservationist, Wayne Lotter, who was murdered in Dar es Salaam in 2017.

The convicts include nine Tanzanians and two citizens of neighbouring Burundi.

The victim was a renowned anti-poaching activist who was singled out by the convicts for disrupting their illegal poaching activities, according to prosecutors while testifying in court on Friday.

State prosecutors told Judge Leila Mgonya that the 51-year-old Lotter who was based in Tanzania, was a founder of the PAMS Foundation, an NGO which worked to stop the poaching of elephants and trafficking of ivory in the East African country.

He was shot dead in Dar es Salaam when the taxi he was travelling in was ambushed and though the exact motive for his killing is still unknown, his colleagues believe he was singled out for his work on protecting elephants, local media reports.

While handing down the death sentences, Judge Mgonya said there was compelling evidence that linked the 11 to the two counts of conspiracy to commit murder and murder on which they were charged

“Some of the suspects, in their statements recorded by police officers, confessed to have taken part in the conspiracy meetings and in killing. The evidence provided was strong enough to convict them,” the judge said.

Tanzania is one of the worst hit African countries in terms of elephant poaching, with a data released early this year noting that more than 66,000 elephants have been lost in the last 10 years due to the activities of illegal poachers.

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