Holiday home couple die from carbon monoxide poisoning from a faulty generator

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A wealthy British banker and his wife most likely died at their holiday home as the result of carbon monoxide poisoning, an inquest at Norwich has heard.

Carbon Monoxide Alarm

Philip Townsend, aged 55, and his wife MaryAnn, 52, were found by a workman at 10am in the morning while staying at their Estonia barn conversion on 24 February. They were found on the floor of a utility room where a faulty generator is thought to have given off fumes which led to carbon monoxide poisoning.

The couple live near Reepham in Norfolk, but Mr Townsend had worked as a research director in Moscow since 2010.

A post-mortem carried out in Estonia on Mr Townsend and his wife recorded the cause of death as asphyxia due to carbon monoxide poisoning.

The Norfolk coroner William Armstrong has released the bodies for burial and said there was no evidence of suicide and the deaths were not being treated as suspicious by the Estonian authorities.

He added that it appeared to be a tragic accident as a result of carbon monoxide poisoning from a faulty generator.

Local police in Estonia at first thought there might be suspicious circumstances, as Mr Townsend worked in the telecoms sector for a Moscow investment company.

A Russian businessman based in the UK and dealing in the Russian telecoms sector went missing from his holiday home in Latvia in 2008 and has never been found. He is presumed to have been abducted and murdered by an assassin.

The inquest into the death of Mr Townsend and his wife opened and adjourned at Norwich, with a further date to be set.

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