Pair who drowned at luxury hotel were having an affair and had gone away for the weekend to celebrate her birthday
- Komba Kpakiwa, from Kent, and Josephine Newahun Foday, from London
- Pair died at Down Hall Country House Hotel in Hatfield Heath, Essex
- Miss Foday's grandmother confirms they were in a relationship today
- Described second year nursing student as 'loving granddaughter'
- Fellow guests thought police arrival was part of murder mystery weekend
- One said: 'We just thought hotel had gone to a lot of expense'
A couple who drowned at a luxury hotel were having an affair, it was claimed yesterday.
Komba Kpakiwa, 31, and Josephine Foday, 22, were found floating face down in the pool at the four-star Down Hall Country House Hotel in Hatfield Heath, Essex, on Saturday.
Mr Kpakiwa, who was married with two young children, had taken Miss Foday, a nursing student who was not his wife, away for a surprise weekend break to celebrate her birthday on Friday.
They had gone out for the day, before returning to the hotel room they were sharing and then going down to the pool, the inquest at Chelmsford Coroner’s Court heard yesterday.
A hotel guest saw the pair floating in the ten-metre indoor pool but presumed they were playing a game and went into the sauna, it was claimed last night.
When the guest returned to the pool he saw they were face down in the water and dialled 999. The pair were pronounced dead at the scene.
Police are not treating the deaths as suspicious and preliminary post-mortem examinations found they had drowned.
A picture posted on Twitter by a hotel guest showed the swimming pool area cordoned off by police
Mr Kpakiwa had been taking his girlfriend Josephine Foday on a surprise weekend away for her 22nd birthday
Last night, Miss Foday’s grandmother, Theresa Farma, 61, said Mr Kpakiwa had surprised her granddaughter with the getaway to celebrate her birthday.
She said he had met her at the corner shop at the top of her road where he worked as a supervisor and they started seeing each other in February.
Josephine Newahun Foday and her grandmother Theresa Farma who described her as a 'loving granddaughter'
Speaking from her home in Plumstead, south-east London, Mrs Farma said: ‘She called me on Friday to say that she had arrived at the hotel. They were looking forward to spending time at the hotel.
‘They were supposed to come back on Sunday but instead the police came. Everyone is upset, distraught. I can’t believe she has gone.’
Miss Foday was a second year nursing student at Canterbury Christ Church University.
She fled to England with her grandmother from their native Sierra Leone in 2001 when both her parents disappeared in the country’s civil war.
Mrs Farma said: ‘We don’t know where her parents are, we think they are dead. I grabbed the child and left.
‘I am so sad, now my granddaughter has been taken away too.’
Abdul Conteh, a family friend, said a man saw the pair floating in the water, but thought they were just fooling around.
He said: ‘According to an eyewitness, he saw the couple in the pool, he went to the sauna and eight minutes later he came out and saw Komba’s face in the pool and Josephine was lying on his back.
‘He thought they were mucking around, a couples thing, he didn’t take any notice of them. But then he came back again and he saw the two of them going down and saw the man’s face was underneath the water, so he raised the alarm.’
The hotel is situated in more than 100 acres of woodland
A policeman stands guard at the Down Hall Country House Hotel in Essex, where the couple were discovered dead in the swimming pool on Saturday night
Mr Kpakiwa, who was also from Sierra Leone, lived with his wife, Gurpreet, in Erith, Kent.
The couple, who had been married for four years had two children, a son, seven, and a daughter, six.
His cousin, Teresa Kpakiwa, 52, last night said she knew nothing of Miss Foday, adding: ‘This is so awful, they’ve got young children.’
The hotel, on the Hertfordshire border, is a popular wedding venue. Jade Goody tied the knot there in 2009
Miss Foday had been living with a 23-year-old man in Chatham, Kent. It is not known what their relationship was. It is thought Mr Kpakiwa was studying for a law degree alongside his work in the corner shop.
Miss Foday had posted cryptic messages on Twitter before her death, including: ‘You have to accept not everyone is going to love you back, that’s why it’s most important to love yourself.’ She also wrote: ‘If you really knew me, you’d know that I will make myself miserable to make someone else happy.’
Debra Teasdale of Christ Church University said: ‘We were very saddened to hear about Josephine’s tragic death at the weekend and our thoughts and sympathies are with her family and friends.’