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Sister of murdered British backpacker died in hospital while pregnant, inquest hears

Written by on 27/07/2021

The sister of a British backpacker murdered in Thailand was pregnant when she died in hospital, an inquest has heard.

Laura Daniels, 30, of Great Yarmouth, died in 2019 after years of complications following surgery for the rare condition trigeminal neuralgia, which causes facial pain.

Mrs Daniels died five years and one day after her sister, Hannah Witheridge, 23 from Norfolk, was found dead on the island of Koh Tao in Thailand.

The case attracted widespread media attention in the UK at the time.

Hannah Witheridge and David Miller
Image: Hannah Witheridge and David Miller were murdered on a Thai island in 2014

Mrs Daniels’ post-mortem examination listed her cause of death as uncertain.

An inquest in Portsmouth, attended virtually by her widower Lewis Daniels and parents Tony and Sue Witheridge, heard that Mrs Daniels had surgery in 2011 that involved making an opening to access a nerve in her skull.

She suffered a “variety of problems” afterwards, including spinal fluid leaking through the wound.

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Mrs Witheridge wept in the hearing and said: “You lose one daughter, you don’t expect to lose another.”

Aabir Chakraborty, consultant neurosurgeon at Southampton General Hospital, said she was treated for a build-up of fluid in the brain.

He told the coroner he was “devastated” by Mrs Daniels death, and that she was pregnant at the time.

Hannah Witheridge and David Miller's bodies were found on Sairee Beach on Koh Tao
Image: Hannah Witheridge and David Miller’s bodies were found on Sairee Beach on Koh Tao. File pic.

He said he did not know what caused her death and, addressing Mrs Daniels’s family, said: “I just want to say sorry.”

Rosamund Rhodes-Kemp, area coroner for Hampshire, Portsmouth and Southampton, told him: “I don’t think you could have done any more than you did.”

The inquest was adjourned until 11 August.

Two Burmese migrants were convicted over the killings of Hannah Witheridge and 24-year-old David Miller, from Jersey, in 2015.

Their death sentences were reduced to life in prison after they were granted clemency in August last year.

 Sky News

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