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Carbon monoxide poisoning killed couple at their holiday home

A British banker and his wife died from Carbon Monoxide Poisoning from a faulty generator at their holiday home in Estonia, an inquest has been told.

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On 24 February, Philip and MaryAnn Townsend, aged 55 and 52, were found at 10am in the morning in a utility room where two generators were located.

It appeared that they died in a “tragic accident”, as the result of fumes from a faulty generator which caused carbon monoxide poisoning.

Mr Townsend – who used the title Baron Townsend of Rathmore – and his wife lived at a 16th century manor house in Wood Dalling, near Reepham in Norfolk.

The inquest opened and adjourned in Norwich after it was disclosed Mr and Mrs Townsend’s bodies were discovered in the barn conversion they had renovated near Valga in Estonia.

At the time police in Estonia said it was not possible to say whether the deaths were suspicious – Mr Townsend worked for an investment company in Moscow as an analyst in the Russian telecoms industry.

Another British-based businessman involved in the Russian telecoms industry disappeared from his holiday home in Latvia four years’ ago and is presumed murdered.

A post-mortem examination on Mr and Mrs Townsend in Estonia revealed the cause of death as asphyxia due to carbon monoxide poisoning. The Norfolk coroner William Armstrong has released the bodies for burial.

Mr Armstrong said there was no evidence the couple committed suicide and the deaths were not being treated as suspicious by the authorities in Estonia.

A further date for the inquests is to be set.

Dated: 03/04/2012

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