Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 26 October 2020

Sean Emmett saw his new bride fall from Dubai hotel window, inquiry hears

Brother gives testimony as inquiry into Abbie Emmett's death is underway

Sean and Abbie Emmett were spending two days in Dubai on their way to the UK after marrying in South Africa in 2013. Abbie died after falling from the fourth floor of Jumeirah Creekside Hotel in Al Garhoud.
Sean and Abbie Emmett were spending two days in Dubai on their way to the UK after marrying in South Africa in 2013. Abbie died after falling from the fourth floor of Jumeirah Creekside Hotel in Al Garhoud.

British motorcycling champion Sean Emmett saw his new bride “flip out” of their Dubai hotel window while looking for her lost wedding ring, his brother told an inquest into her death on Tuesday.

Jason Emmett, who was best man at the couple's wedding days before the incident in 2013, told the Surrey coroner’s court that Sean rang his mobile hours after Abbie Elson, 27, fell to her death from their fourth floor honeymoon suite at Jumeirah Creekside Hotel in Dubai.

“Sean said Abbie had fallen out of a window,” his brother said. “He said she had lost her ring and had gone down to look for it and got all emotional about it.”

After she failed to find it, Sean went to look for the white gold ring but as he reached the door of their hotel room, he “saw her flip out”, his brother told the hearing.

Jason, a policeman for London’s Metropolitan force, said: “He sounded shaken up and said the whole thing was awful.

“He had got a lot of blood on him from giving her CPR.”

Abbie said she was living with an abusive partner and this triggered a few things

Dr Raghad Hussain

Joseph Semanda, a security guard at the hotel, said he saw a woman falling from a window and found her gasping for breath in the bushes below.

In a written statement, he said he saw Sean looking out of the window after she fell. He described Sean running to where she lay dying in a bid to resuscitate her.

Jason said he worried his brother would become suicidal while under investigation in Dubai on suspicion of her murder.

The 50-year-old former Grand Prix motorcyclist was held on bail for 10 months after her death in February 2013 and released without charge. On arrival to the UK in December 2013, he was arrested by Surrey police but was cleared after a three-year investigation.

The inquest aims to establish whether anyone else was involved in Abbie’s death.

Jason said Sean and Abbie lived a “very chaotic lifestyle” marked by excessive drinking.

“Sean led a sportsman’s lifestyle,” he said. “I would describe him as a good-time person. He liked to party.

“He was nonconformist and lived a disorganised lifestyle.”

Jason described his brother as a “heavy drinker” and said Sean and Abbie were “like two peas in a pod”.

Jason told the inquest he would avoid his brother when he had been drinking because of his “annoying” behaviour while under the influence of alcohol.

Despite living in the flat below the couple, he denied seeing any signs of Sean being violent towards Abbie, although he admitted police had to be called during one of their rows in November 2011.

“I was not really aware of problems in their relationship but I was aware of a bit of an issue about three times,” he told the hearing. “Normally, it involved drinking and one of them getting locked out.”

Jason said he became so concerned about their drinking that he told Abbie: “If you drink like that, you are not going to live until you’re 40.”

Paul Chitty, a friend of the motorcyclist who lived opposite Sean, said he could sometimes hear their screaming matches.

The inquest was told Abbie had suffered bouts of depression and self-harm and had a long history of mental health issues and battles with the eating disorder bulimia. She had attempted suicide twice before meeting Sean.

She had inflicted cuts on her arms and legs sporadically from the age of 10 and sought medical help in 2011, shortly after meeting Sean. The stress of dealing with an abusive partner was making her self-harm again and even caused her to step out in front of a moving car, doctors said.

Psychiatrist Raghad Hussain said in a written statement: “Abbie said she was living with an abusive partner and this triggered a few things. She said she was getting the urge to self-harm and described her relationship as 'lovely most of the time but occasionally her partner would become abusive'”.

Within three months of that report, Abbie was drinking 200 units a week, more than 14 times the amount recommended by UK health officials.

In the last few years of her life, Abbie was admitted to hospital on several occasions with bruises to her arms, neck and chest and was known to the domestic violence team in the area where she lived.

In 2011, she told doctors Sean assaulted her “at least once a month”.

When her ear was badly ripped in July 2011 and had to be stitched back on, she told doctors she intended to leave him and that he prevented her from seeing friends and family.

She even sought help from doctors the day before flying to Cape Town in South Africa to marry Sean.

On Monday, Abbie’s parents Christopher and Carolyn Elson and her close friends gave evidence of Sean subjecting her to a cycle of abuse. They said she sought their help on a number of occasions after he attacked her, but she kept returning to him.

The inquest heard the wedding party included Sean's racing circle as well as his brother but Abbie’s friends and family were excluded and only found out they were married after she posted a message on Facebook in February 2013.

The couple flew to Dubai for a two-night stopover on their way back from South Africa but Abbie died on their first night in the UAE.

The inquest continues.

Updated: October 6, 2020 10:54 PM

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