– Wealthy British banker and his wife are killed on holiday by carbon monoxide poisoning (Daily Mail, Mar 1, 2012):
A wealthy British banker and his wife have died from carbon monoxide poisoning at their holiday home in Estonia.
The bodies of Philip Townsend and his wife MaryAnne were discovered February 24 and local police say they are treating the deaths as an accident.
Mr Townsend, 56, and his wife – the couple have two children a girl, 17 and 17-year-old son both at boarding schools – moved into the Grade Two listed Wood Dalling Hall near Reepham, Norfolk in 1989.
It is understood that Mr Townsend, the son of a Royal Naval commander, worked in the City but specialised in arranging deals with Russia and the Baltic states.
Locals say the family kept to themselves but became increasingly involved in acrimonious disputes with villagers over land and property.
In 1996 Mr Townsend is reported to have obtained a High Court writ to stop a neighbour watering her hanging baskets.
Mr Townsend has also become embroiled in lengthy and costly legal battles with neighbours over boundaries and water supplies.
Villagers tonight spoke of their shock at news of the double tragedy.
Sub post mistress Tricia Joyce said: ‘It terrible news – this is a very small quiet community and everyone knows the family.’
A statement from relatives of the couple released last night said: ‘It is with great regret that the family of Philip and MaryAnne Townsend have to report the tragic accident that took place at their home in Estonia on Friday.
‘They both died due to carbon monoxide poisoning. There will be no further police investigation and there will be a UK coroners hearing in the normal way.
‘Their children are being looked after by relatives in Norfolk and members of the family have been to Estonia. A further statement about the funeral service will be made shortly.’
The family also asked to be left alone to grieve ‘in these difficult times.’
A spokesman for Norfolk Coroner’s office said: ‘The coroner has no jurisdiction unless and until the body of a deceased person is within this area.
‘The coroner is aware of the deaths of two people in Estonia but will not receive any formal report unless and until their bodies arrive in Norfolk.’
A Foreign Office spokesman said: ‘We are aware of the deaths of two British nationals in Estonia on February 24th and in contact with the next of kin providing appropriate consular assistance.’