Published: June 27, 2013
Burnham pub landlady strangled and robbed in Egypt, inquest told

A coroner has this week recorded a verdict of unlawful killing for a former Burnham-On-Sea pub landlady who was found dead in Egypt.

West Somerset coroner Michael Rose delivered his verdict at an inquest hearing held on Thursday (June 27th) into the death of Fran Rossiter in the Egyptian resort of Hurghada last June.

The inquest heard that Fran - who ran Burnham's Squashed Frog nightclub and The Queen's Hotel on The Esplanade - was strangled to death during a robbery in her apartment.

The identity of who killed her was not revealed since West Somerset coroner Michael Rose was obliged to protect the identities of three Egyptian people as investigations continue in Egypt.

He said he had no hesitation in recording a verdict of unlawful killing, used for situations like murder, manslaughter and gross criminal neglicence, as coroners can't name the perpetrators of crime.

Mrs Rossiter, known as Fran, moved to the Red Sea resort around two-and-a-half years ago.

The 69-year-old was found dead in a bedroom cupboard in her flat on June 8th, 2012, after her friends and partner had become concerned that they had not heard from her, the inquest heard.

Thanks to evidence supplied to the coroner by Egyptian police, it was heard that two men – dubbed A and B – with the help of a female accomplice called C, allegedly tricked their way into Mrs Rossiter’s flat and strangled her with a plastic cord whilst attempting to smother her with a cushion. The cause of death was asphyxiation.

Mrs Rossiter’s estranged Egyptian 'husband' and a friend of the victim discovered her body wrapped in a bed sheet within a bedroom cupboard.

On the legal situation of the case, Mr Rose said: "I have not named anyone being responsible. They are just described as A and B and participation of C. I don’t want to complicate any criminal proceedings in Egypt. Criminal law does not proceed at the same pace as in the UK."

The inquest heard that Mrs Rossiter had originally gone on holiday to Egypt nine years ago but decided to move there after becoming fond of the resort and meeting a fisherman, Sayyid Jamal Sayyid Shalaby.

The inquest heard that her relationship with him started well and Mr Shalaby asked Mrs Rossiter to marry him two-and-a-half years ago in an Orfi – a legal ceremony used to allow cohabiting without all the obligations of a marriage. However, the relationship had gone sour, the inquest heard.

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