Family killed in suspected carbon monoxide poisoning at caravan site 'died quickly'

 

Three members of the same family who died after suspected carbon monoxide poisoning at a caravan park would have been "unconscious within minutes", investigators said today.

It is also believed there was no working carbon monoxide detector in the static caravan where the bodies of John Cook, 90, his wife Audrey, 86, and their 46-year-old daughter Maureen were discovered on Saturday afternoon.

It is believed the family may have been using a heater to keep warm at Tremarle Home Park, Camborne, in Cornwall, as the region experienced freezing conditions overnight into the weekend.

Police and fire crews today continued their investigations at the mobile home.

The cause of death is still to be determined, although an early reading from experts at the site revealed a potentially lethal level of carbon monoxide present within the caravan at the time it was taken, shortly after the grim discovery.

Mark Pratten, crew manager in prevention with Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service, said: "Carbon monoxide was at an extremely high level. A significant dose such as this would have been fatal.

"The investigation is continuing, but it would appear that the people inside the home would have slipped into unconsciousness within a few minutes (of the leak).

"They would then go into a comatose state very quickly."

He said if, as expected, carbon monoxide poisoning was responsible for the deaths, the Cooks would have died "very swiftly" after falling unconscious.

Flowers continued to mark the scene of the tragedy today, with neighbours on the quiet caravan park - tucked away on the edge of the Cornish town - paying their respects.

One bouquet read: "Why did this happen to lovely people like you?"

Another added: "May you all rest in peace together."

News of the tragedy has rocked the close-knit residential park, where many elderly couples live.

Neighbour Sue Issacs, 58, said: "Everyone here is in total shock. You never think that something like this would happen on your own doorstep.

"John, Audrey and Maureen were lovely people. It's so upsetting to think that three members of the same family have been wiped out in one go."

The alarm was raised at around 1pm on Saturday after the family failed to respond to knocks on the door from the couple's helper who became worried.

As well as claiming the life of John, Audrey and Maureen, their family dog, a five-year-old Jack Russell called Jannie, also died.

Friend Julie Boon, 55, said the whole community was left shocked and devastated.

She said: "I saw Maureen and her mum on Thursday morning when they were walking their dog.

"Maureen asked about my dog and her mum commented on the cold weather and then they went. That's the last time I saw them.

"They were a lovely family who loved their dog and their home. The whole community is shocked and devastated."

The three deaths come less than a fortnight after an elderly woman died of suspected carbon monoxide poisoning at her home in nearby St Ives.

Reports say that since the latest incident a number of local shops have sold out of carbon monoxide detectors.

Asked if the Cooks' caravan contained a working device, Mr Pratten said: "My understanding is that there was not."

He added: "As they say, carbon monoxide is the silent killer. It has got no taste and no colour, so it is vital that people equip their homes with a detector."

Although Devon and Cornwall Police are continuing to investigate, a spokesman said the incident was not being treated as suspicious.

Cornwall coroners in Truro confirmed they had received reports of the three deaths, but that no dates had yet been set for the opening of the inquests.

PA

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Life and Style
Suited and booted in the Lanvin show at the Paris menswear collections
fashionParis Fashion Week
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Kara Tointon and Jeremy Piven star in Mr Selfridge
tvActress Kara Tointon on what to expect from Series 3
Voices
Winston Churchill, then prime minister, outside No 10 in June 1943
voicesA C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
News
i100
News
An asteroid is set to pass so close to Earth it will be visible with binoculars
news
News
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Austen Lloyd: Private Client Solicitor - Oxford

Excellent Salary : Austen Lloyd: OXFORD - REGIONAL FIRM - An excellent opportu...

Austen Lloyd: Clinical Negligence Associate / Partner - Bristol

Super Package: Austen Lloyd: BRISTOL - SENIOR CLINICAL NEGLIGENCE - An outstan...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Consultant - Solar Energy - OTE £50,000

£15000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Fantastic opportunities are ava...

Recruitment Genius: Compute Engineer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Compute Engineer is required to join a globa...

Day In a Page

Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project