Widow of man who drowned in luxury hotel pool with girlfriend is ‘in bits’, says family friend
- Gurpreet Kpakiwa, from Kent, is struggling to cope with husband’s death
- Komba Kpakiwa and girlfriend Josephine Foday, drowned on Saturday
- Pair died at Down Hall Country House Hotel in Hatfield Heath, Essex
- Miss Foday’s grandmother Theresa Farma confirms they were a couple
- 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’
By JOHN STEVENS
PUBLISHED: 16:13, 1 May 2013 | UPDATED: 15:28, 2 May 2013
Gurpreet Kpakiwa, whose husband Komba died at the weekend while away with his lover, is said to be in shock
The widow of a man who drowned during a weekend away with his girlfriend is ‘in bits and struggling to work out what happened’, it was reported today.
Gurpreet Kpakiwa was said to be in shock after hearing that her husband, Komba Kpakiwa, 31, had been found dead in a hotel pool with his lover, Josephine Foday, 22, last weekend.
She is said to be finding it hard to cope and barely speaking to anyone following the death of her shop-keeper husband, by whom she has two young children.
Mr Kpakiwa and Miss Foday both drowned at the pool at Down Hall Country House Hotel in Hatfield Heath, Essex, on Saturday.
Mr Kpakiwa had taken Miss Foday, a nursing student, away for a surprise weekend break to celebrate her birthday on Friday.
Today a family friend said that Mrs Kpakiwa was distraught.
He told the Evening Standard: ‘She is in bits and struggling to work out what happened to Komba on Saturday.
‘She’s in a bad way and is hardly talking to anyone.’
Meanwhile Mr Kpakiwa’s brother Sahr, who lives in Erith, Kent, said that Miss Foday was a family friend, and his brother had taken her away for a birthday weekend.
He said: ‘What I know about my brother is that he was a nice and loyal man and he was respectful of his family and always proud of them.’
He said his family did not yet know the circumstances surrounding the drownings, and said his mother was flying to England from her family home in Sierra Leone.
Josephine Newahun Foday, left, and Komba Kpakiwa, right, were found drowned at the Down Hall Country House Hotel in Hatfield, Essex
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
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.’
Mr Kpakiwa, who was also from Sierra Leone, lived with 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.’
Mr Kpakiwa had been taking his girlfriend Josephine Foday on a surprise weekend away for her 22nd birthday
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 Josephin