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Crime Health Pembrokeshire West Wales

Pembrokeshire woman drowned in ancient Copenhagen baths after major blood glucose level decline

Margaret Barnaby

An inquest has heard how a visit to the ancient spa baths in Copenhagen ended in tragedy for a Pembrokeshire woman after she lost consciousness as a result of her diabetes and drowned.

Margaret Barnaby, 50, was visiting Copenhagen with her son, Ben, and his girlfriend in May, of last year.  During their holiday, they decided to visit the Aire Ancient Baths’ spa facility.

“There were numerous treatments available as well as the ancient baths which have a range of different temperatures as well as salt water,” coroner’s officer James Lang told this week’s inquest in County Hall, Haverfordwest.

“The three of them had gone into the baths together and after a while, Ben and his girlfriend got out.”

A short while later, Ben was informed that his mother’s body had been found submerged in the water.

“She was lying lifeless,” said James Lang. “Despite 45 minutes of CPR, she was declared dead at the scene.”

A post mortem carried out by a Danish forensic pathologist confirmed that the cause of Margaret Barnaby’s death was drowning while a toxicology report concluded that her blood sugar levels had reached extremely low levels as a result of her diabetes mellitus.

The inquest heard that Margaret Barnaby, of Fferm y Cadno, Moylegrove, St Dogmaels, continuously monitored her blood glucose levels by a CGM device on her arm that was linked to an app on her Smart phone.  But at the time of her death, her phone wasn’t with her, as it had been left in the changing rooms.

A subsequent examination of the phone revealed that her blood glucose levels had declined rapidly at the time of her death

“This suggests that she suffered a hypo glycemic episode, lost consciousness and became submerged,” said acting senior coroner, Paul Bennet.

Mr Bennett confirmed that the medical cause of her death was drowning and diabetes mellitus.  He recorded a conclusion of accidental death.