Inquest into death of Shefford backpacker results in open verdict

PUBLISHED: 18:18 29 October 2019 | UPDATED: 18:29 29 October 2019

Natalie Seymour, aged 22,  died while travelling in Southeast Asia in November 2017. Picture: Instagram

Natalie Seymour, aged 22, died while travelling in Southeast Asia in November 2017. Picture: Instagram

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An inquest into the death of a 22-year-old woman from Shefford - who sadly died in a Cambodian hostel while backpacking through Southeast Asia - was held today and has resulted in an open verdict.

Natalie Seymour, a former student of Samuel Whitbread Academy, and her friend Abbey Amisola - aged 27 from Winnipeg, Canada - were found dead in their room by a member of staff at the Monkey Republic guesthouse, a backpackers' hostel in Kampot, in November 2017.

Before she died, Natalie had messaged her mother to say she wasn't feeling well with a severe stomach upset.

The 22-year-old told her mum, Wendy Bowler, that she and her friend might go out to get something to make them better.

But hours later staff at the hostel sadly found them both dead.

Natalie's phone was examined by the Cambodian authorities and it was found in the hours leading up to her death she had been carrying out Google searches about vomiting.

The inquest, held at the Hertfordshire Coroner's Court in Hatfield, heard how Natalie, had flown to Cambodia to see Abbey who she had met a year earlier in Bali.

She'd quit her job as an accounts manager, had a one way ticket, and didn't know when she would be returning home.

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Natalie posted photos online as she and Abbey travelled through the country, and she would message her family daily.

After becoming ill, other backpackers brought them food and drink. The inquest heard because of the remote location of the hostel there was no hospital nearby.

Natalie's family who were present at hearing heard how a villager took her in a car to a local doctor, but was unconscious by the time they arrived and was brought back to the hostel.

Natalie's body was brought back to the UK and Cambodian authorities sent reports. Paul Myhill, principal scene of crime officer for Herts police, said there was no evidence of "foul play".

A post mortem was also performed on Natalie's body at the Lister Hospital in Stevenage but tissue and fluid sample obtained provided no "significant toxicological" findings.

Dr Rajiv Swamy who carried out the post mortem on Natalie's body said there was evidence of small droplets of fat being present which indicated the possibility of "drug toxicity" being present, sometimes seen as a result of taking over the counter medication like paracetamol or anti convulsants.

The Coroner was told that when the inquest was first opened into her death in 2018, the cause of her death couldn't be determined and was recorded as "unascertainable".

However Dr Swamy told the hearing today the damage to her liver that he found was a significant finding which showed a "toxic pathology within the liver".

He said the condition he found - which he referred to as "idiopathic hepatotoxic micro vesicular steatosis" - was the cause of death.

Coroner Geoffrey Sullivan recorded an open verdict after hearing Natalie and her friend had brought an unknown over the counter medication.

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