As we go to press the hotel where a British National died this week is open for business. Management is refusing to comment on the circumstances surrounding the death of the 20-year-old visitor and the police are also mum, only saying that investigations are ongoing. Meanwhile the STAR has been inundated with requests from interested media sources in the UK about the death of Hannah Defoe.
The police released a vague statement surrounding the death that occurred on Wednesday July 25 at about 7pm. The official report is that officers were called to the small hotel located in Beanefield, Vieux Fort after Defoe died in a hotel swimming pool. Her body was reportedly found by a family member. But while the local police await a post mortem report the Telegraph is already reporting the Hanna Defoe’s death was due to electrocution.
The story has garnered international attention, not just because of its strange nature, but also because the deceased is the cousin of England footballer Jermain Defoe.
The UK Sun reported that Defoe, a Tottenham Hotspur striker, was on the club’s pre-season tour of America when he was told the news and has been allowed to return to the UK to be with his family.
A statement on Tottenham’s website read: “Jermain Defoe is to return home from our pre-season tour of the United States after receiving the tragic news of the death of his cousin Hannah Defoe while on holiday in St Lucia. Everyone at the club sends their sincere condolences to Jermain and his family and all our thoughts are with them at this sad time.”
The family is still believed to be in St Lucia and are getting consular assistance. The Telegraph further reported that Hannah’s mother Janet was taken to hospital after getting an electric shock as she tried to save her daughter.
Defoe, who was named a Goodwill and Sports Ambassador for St Lucia due to his family ties to the island, has been hit heavy by tragedy. He left England’s Euro 2012 camp in Poland last month following the death of his 49-year-old father Jimmy from throat cancer. The Telegraph reports that his half-brother Jade, 26, also died in 2009 after falling into a coma following a street attack in east London. Defoe has been known to offer support to local youth teams in St Lucia.
Meanwhile in St Lucia, there has yet to be a statement from tourism authorities on the death. St Lucia has received bad press over the past few years over incidents involving British Nationals. In May this year an article in the Daily Mail accused St Lucian cops of botching an investigation into the “suspicious” death of Hilary Hughes an AIDS expert for the World Heath Organization who lived on the island.
With St Lucia thrust into the spotlight with this latest case, let’s hope authorities respond speedily. Already it is being reported overseas that young Hannah Defoe, who would turn 21 next month, had been in the pool for over an hour. The less local authorities say the more speculations will be made about the incident.
There are some burning questions: Has the hotel pool been quarantined and is it being examined by professionals? Would it not have been safe to close the hotel pending the investigation? How speedily will the police handle this case considering the negative impact it could have? And if in fact the young woman did die of electrocution will anyone be held accountable?
UPDATE (July 30): Local police released a statement today confirming that Hannah Defoe died from drowning after she was electrocuted. In a post mortem conducted on Monday the police said it was determined that the 20-year-old who died while vacationing at a hotel in the south of St Lucia indicates that Defoe died “as a result of drowning secondary to electrocution.”