Family dismisses Morocco deaths speculation

Relatives of a couple who both died on holiday in separate falls, leaving their four children orphaned, have branded speculation over their deaths "hurtful and malicious".

Roger and Mathilde Lamb were on holiday with their four sons in the tourist resort of Essaouira on Morocco's Atlantic coast when they died in separate incidents.

The exact circumstances of the death of the couple, from Pensham, near Pershore, Worcestershire, are still unknown.

The British Embassy in Rabat has confirmed reports that Mrs Lamb, known as Tilly, fell from an apartment in Essaouira while her husband died after a separate fall at a different building a few days later.

Their sons, who are all between nine and 16, are now in the UK being looked after by relatives.

But yesterday Mrs Lamb's brother-in-law Mark Rogerson, speaking on behalf of the couple's families, urged against speculation.

He said: "Roger and Tilly's families have seen a report in one section of the media that a member of the family believes the police are treating the two deaths as 'suspicious'. This is a misconception.

"We fully understand that the police routinely investigate the deaths of British nationals abroad in unusual circumstances on behalf of the coroner.

"Eventually, an inquest will rule on these two tragic incidents, which may take some months.

"Until that time, the family regards any speculation as hurtful and malicious."

Mr Rogerson, who lives in France, said they still knew very few details about what happened.

He said they heard about Mrs Lamb's death last Thursday after she apparently fell the previous night. They then heard about Mr Lamb's death on Monday.

Mr Rogerson said Mrs Lamb would have been 44 next month, while her husband was 47.

A statement released by Mr Rogerson on Friday said: "Roger and Tilly's families have been deeply shocked and saddened by their tragic deaths while on holiday in Morocco.

"Our principal concern at the moment is to provide love and support to their four sons who have had to suffer the loss of both a mother and a father in swift succession."

Mr Rogerson, who described the couple as "lovely", said geotechnical engineer Mr Lamb worked for some time in New Zealand, and there had been discussions about the rest of the family moving there.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office was offering consular assistance to the family.

The Rev Terry Henderson, rector for Great Comberton in Worcestershire, where Mrs Lamb's elderly mother lives, paid tribute to the couple.

He said they were very much part of the community through their children's school, Elmley Castle Church of England School.

"In a small rural community like this, when news like that is suddenly made known, the community, because they know the couple so well through the school, are traumatised by it because in a rural community you get to know people very well," he said.

He said Mrs Lamb was chairman of the school's parent teacher association (PTA) for several years and both she and her husband were very involved with the school.

"They were very much a part of the community through the school. I hear that one of her sisters is looking after the children," he said.

But he said it was still unclear exactly what had happened: "There is lots of speculation, nobody knows quite what happened.

"You hear people say 'Oh this must have happened', but it's speculation. Nobody really knows what happened."

Mrs Lamb's body will be repatriated to Wiltshire, where some of her family come from, Wiltshire Police confirmed. It is not yet known where her husband will be repatriated.