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Coroner's verdict on holiday death couple
8:40am Saturday 8th September 2012 in Evesham
A GRIEF-stricken husband threw himself off a hotel balcony just days after his wife plunged to her death, an inquest was told.
Roger Lamb, aged 47, was unable to cope when his wife Mathilde, known as Tilly, 43, died in Morocco last summer during a family holiday.
The inquest was told that Mrs Lamb accidentally slipped from the balcony of a third floor apartment in the seaside town of Essaouira.
Three days later her husband jumped from the first floor balcony of a hotel.
David Ridley, coroner for Wiltshire and Swindon, recorded a verdict of accidental death for Mrs Lamb and suicide for her husband at the hearing on Friday.
The inquest heard the couple, who lived in Pensham, near Pershore, had been woken in the early hours of August 17 by loud noises coming from the street below their apartment.
She climbed onto a sofa after hearing someone banging on the door, but slipped and fell out of the window.
One of her children, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said he had woken to find the room full of locals and police, each of who were trying to comfort their dad.
Mr Ridley said Mrs Lamb was “an adventurous individual with no sense of danger”
and it wasn’t surprising she had leaned out of the window. A devastated Mr Lamb took his own life while suffering from depression, the coroner added.
Mr Ridley also said that there was no evidence to suggest any kind of foul play or third party involvement.
Speaking after the verdict, Mr and Mrs Lamb’s family released a statement paying tribute to the “devoted and loving” parents.
They said: “We pray that Tilly and Roger may now rest in peace. They were devoted and loving parents who succeeded in bringing up their lovely children, and the future of their children will remain the principal concern of both families.”
Mr Lamb was found critically injured on August 21 below a balcony at the resort’s five-star Sofitel hotel after telling his family he was going for swim. He died at a hospital unit in Marrakech the following day.
The inquest heard Mr Lamb had attempted to take his life hours after Mrs Lamb’s death by walking into the sea with a rucksack full of rocks, but was rescued by one of his children.
The court was told Mr Lamb had a history of mental health issues and had been prescribed antidepressants while working in New Zealand.
Mrs Lamb’s sister Charlotte Seabag-Montefiore, who flew out to Morroco following her death, described seeing Mr Lamb “in a state of shock” and very tearful.
She added, however, that in the days after Mrs Lamb’s death he had got progressively better and had appeared “unbelievably well” just minutes before he fell to his death. Mr Lamb, an engineer, had recently returned from almost a year of working in Christchurch.
The inquest heard he was keen for his family to move to the country.
But Mrs Lamb, who ran a bed and breakfast from the family home, had not wanted to go. Zara Bird, Mr Lamb’s eldest sister, said her brother was not happy in the UK and that his relationship with his wife had been rocky.
Mr Lamb worked as a geotechnic engineer in Christchurch.
He was present during the devastating earthquake and had suffered flashbacks and anxiety attacks as a result.