A RETIRED college house warden who went on holiday for the first time in 12 years drowned in her five-star hotel pool days after landing in the Dominican Republic.

Grandmother Marie Palfreeman suffered from a number of health problems, including type-two diabetes and lung diseases, which had stopped her from travelling during her retirement, an inquest heard this week.

The 68-year-old divorcee of Court Close, Kidlington, embarked on the holiday with her sister-in-law Linda Tinson, who pushed her in a wheelchair so she could board the plane to the Dominican Republic at the start of February this year, Oxford Coroner’s Court was told.

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On February 3, they went swimming together in the hotel pool after breakfast, with Ms Palfreeman remaining in the shallow end while Ms Tinson swam a length of the pool.

In a statement to coroner Darren Salter, Ms Tinson said: “I swam to the other side of the pool in 12 or 13 strokes. By the time I turned around, Marie was lying on her back.”

Oxford Mail:

Ms Tinson rushed to help her sister-in-law, who was face down in the water, and called out for help, prompting two off-duty Canadian paramedics who happened to be by the poolside to leap into action and help remove Ms Palfreeman from the pool and begin CPR.

Ms Palfreeman, a mother of one, had spent the previous days of her holiday relaxing in the sun under an parasol and enjoying the hotel hot tub, Ms Tinson said.

She also revealed how two days earlier they had gone into the pool together, but Ms Tinson noticed Ms Palfreeman got out of breath, so they got out again.

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Ms Tinson added: “Marie had very poor health, but still I do not understand how she got into difficulties so quickly. She was very close to the side of the pool and in a similar position when I saw her floating on the water.”

Security staff at the Hotel Bahia Principe, in De San Pedro De Macoris, alerted ambulance crews who rushed Ms Palfreeman to hospital.

Oxford Mail:

A translated medical report provided by the Dominican Republic authorities said that although Ms Palfreeman had coughed up water and paramedics continued CPR, she could not be saved and was declared dead in hospital shortly after 11am, with the cause of death being given as drowning.

Summing up the evidence on Thursday, Mr Salter told Ms Palfreeman’s daughter-in-law Becky and Chelsea – one of her three grandchildren – the death must have been an accident.

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He said: “It is all, sadly, quite straightforward. A sad case, with Mrs Palfreeman going on holiday abroad for the first time in that many years.

“She was removed from the pool and immediately taken by ambulance to the local hospital, but she could not be revived and died.”

He gave a conclusion of ‘accidental death’.