Deaths of Norfolk couple a ‘tragic accident’

A Norfolk banker and his wife died from carbon monoxide poisoning at their home in Estonia.

Philip Townsend, 55, and his wife MaryAnne, 52, of Wood Dalling Hall, near Reepham, were staying at their forest home in the Baltic country when the accident happened on February 24.

The couple have two children - a 17-year-old son and 15-year-old daughter - and Mr Townsend, who used the title Baron Townsend of Rathbone, specialised in deals in Russia and the Baltic states.

They had lived in Wood Dalling for about 20 years.

A statement from their family 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, February 24 2012.

'They both died due to carbon monoxide poisoning. There will be no further police investigation and there will be a UK coroners' court hearing in the normal way. Their children are being looked after by their relations in Norfolk. Members of the family have been to Estonia. A further statement about the funeral service will be made shortly. Please respect our privacy in these difficult times.'

A spokesman for the Norfolk Coroners Office said: 'The coroner has no jurisdiction unless and until the body of a deceased person is within his 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.'

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A Foreign Office spokesman said: 'We are aware of the deaths of two British nationals in Estonia on February 24. We are in contact with the next of kin providing appropriate consular assistance.'

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