Police investigate mystery deaths of men after Spanish holiday

POLICE and coroner's officers are investigating claims that up to six men from Yorkshire have died after returning from a group holiday in Benidorm earlier this year.

Inquiries were launched after the wife of one of the men spoke of the deaths to her councillor, who reported them to the authorities.

Coun Grace Brown said she had decided to raise the alarm after speaking to Carol Shaw, 52, whose 48-year-old husband Stephen suffered a heart attack after landing in Britain.

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Coun Brown told the Yorkshire Post: "I had been working on something for Mr Shaw before he went on holiday, and I had been trying to contact him without any success.

"Then I saw his wife a few weeks later and she told me he hadn't made it home and had suffered a heart attack when the group got back to Barnsley from the airport.

"She said it wasn't only her husband who had died after they came back, and told me that five other lads who had been on the holiday had also passed away since."

Coun Brown, who serves the Monk Bretton Ward, said she felt that it was her duty as an elected councillor to draw the strange circumstances, which could be a tragic coincidence, to the attention of the police and the coroner.

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"I thought that if it was found that there was some common cause for these deaths and I had known about them and not reported it, it would have been awful," she added.

"It may turn out to be nothing, but there may have been foul play, or they may simply have eaten something. I have just done what any councillor in my position would have done."

It is understood Mrs Shaw, who could not be contacted yesterday, had not reported any suspicions herself because she was still upset about losing her husband in March.

Mr Shaw, who had run a fish and chip shop in the Lundwood area of Barnsley, was deemed to have died from natural causes after he was examined by doctors in the town.

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Coun Brown added: "It was the age of them that concerned me. All of them are in their mid to late 40s and that is very young for them to be

dying all in the space of a few months."

Both Barnsley Coroner's Office and South Yorkshire Police

said they were making "preliminary inquiries" into the reports.