Down Hall Country House pool deaths: Pair's relationship probed

Police are investigating the relationship between the people who died as part of their inquiries

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The relationship between a man and woman found drowned in an Essex hotel pool is a focus of a police inquiry.

The bodies of the man in his 30s and a woman in her 20s were found together at the luxury Down Hall Country House Hotel in Hatfield Heath on Saturday.

Ch Insp Nick Lee said it was unusual to find two people in this way, but he was sure no-one else was involved.

A post-mortem examination revealed both had drowned. Their names would be released later, police said.

Further tests are to be carried out and the families have asked for the names to be withheld until an inquest opens on Tuesday.

'Staff dived in'

Formal identification of the woman had to be completed later on Monday, police said.

"The two people had been staying together at the hotel but we do not know their relationship," Ch Insp Lee said earlier.

Police are investigating whether the two people, who lived in the London area, had been part of any of the wedding parties or other events at the hotel over the weekend.

Down Hall Country House Hotel Police were told that a man and woman had been found under water in the hotel's swimming pool

A murder mystery event had been due to happen on Sunday but this was cancelled in the light of the deaths which police said are "unexplained".

Ch Insp Lee said: "We are interviewing people who were at the hotel over the weekend as part of our investigation to see if there are any witnesses or anyone with information.

"It is an early part of the investigation but we do not believe anyone else is involved."

The hotel's management said staff dived into the pool to try to save the two people after they were found at 19:35 BST.

'We are devastated'

Police said the man and woman were pronounced dead at the scene.

Hotel manager Chris Falcus said: "We wish to reiterate our condolences to the friends and families of the lady and gentleman concerned.

"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."

A number of functions are believed to have been taking place at the hotel, including weddings, birthday parties and christenings.

Located near Bishop's Stortford, it describes itself as "one of England's most established country house hotels".

Parts of the building date back to 1322 and it sits in 110 acres of surrounding woodland, parkland and landscaped gardens.

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