Two dead after ‘chemical incident’ at North London hotel
Two women were found dead in a North London hotel yesterday in what emergency officials described as a “chemical incident”.Police believe that the women, one in her 30s and one in her 50s, had committed suicide by taking a “noxious substance”, thought to be a powder. They said they could not confirm what the substance was, but forensic tests are underway.
The bodies were found in a room at the Costello Palace Hotel in Finsbury Park yesterday afternoon and were due to be removed from the scene last night. The hotel was evacuated and surrounding roads were cordoned off for a time, while firefighters in specialist breathing equipment entered the building.
A spokeswoman for the London Fire Brigade said: “We are treating this as a confirmed chemical incident. The hotel has been evacuated and cordon implemented.”
Around 70 people were believed to be staying at the hotel on Saturday night, but most were thought to have left before the bodies were discovered at about midday. Police said there was no risk to the public and the hotel will be allowed to reopen.
The Costello Palace is one of a series of budget hotels that run along the Seven Sisters Road opposite Finsbury Park. Guests staying at the hotel said it had been fully booked on Saturday night.
Eileen Early, 43, from Great Dunmow, Essex, said: “It’s just awful when you think about it. It’s such a shock to realise that this has gone on while we were inside the hotel.”
Graham Cannon, 43, from Halstead, Essex, had come to London yesterday to watch a music concert. He said: “I’ve been coming here for six years. It’s cheap and cheerful, it’s only £65 for a double room and it’s really convenient if you want to go into the centre of London.
“We came down for breakfast this morning at about 8.30 and it was absolutely packed. Nothing seemed wrong at all then. We were laughing and joking with the manager. Everything was normal. You don’t have to check out of here until 11pm so I suppose the staff didn’t even find the bodies until after then.”
Perry Williamson, 48, a friend of Mr Cannon, said: “We went for a walk after breakfast and we only realised that something was badly wrong when we came back to get the car at lunchtime. The place was all taped off and there were police and fire brigade everywhere.”