22 February 2010, 12:13
A post-mortem examination has revealed a 31 year old newly-wed from Wokingham died of carbon monoxide poisoning.
Oxford University press officer Katie Haines was discovered by her husband in her home on Thursday night, after being overcome with fumes. Her parents-in-law were taken to The Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading, after also suffering the effects of inhalation, but have since been discharged.
In a tribute released by police on behalf of Katie's family, she was described as "the most wonderful daughter imaginable." The statement confirmed Mrs Haines got married last December and that she looked like "a Hollywood film star" on her wedding day.
Katie’s father, Gordon Samuel, said: "Katie was the perfect daughter who was as bright as she was beautiful. My wife and I couldn't have asked for a more perfect little girl. She never gave us a second of worry in her short life. She had a smile that absolutely lit up her face and was unforgettable to anyone who saw it.
"Katie had been with Richard for five years and was so excited about her wedding. They were the most perfect couple and absolutely adored each other. She looked so beautiful - like a Hollywood film star - in her wedding dress on the day and I will never forget her twirling around on the dance floor, radiant with happiness. Katie was so happy to be embarking on her life as Mrs Haines and was looking forward to having a family with Richard.
"When it came to her career, she was very hard-working and conscientious. She studied hard to become a journalist before, more recently, becoming a press officer at Oxford University - a job she loved and was very proud to do.
"Katie was such a huge presence in all our lives and I don't know how myself, her mother Avril and husband, Richard, will fill this void in our lives.
"This is every parent's worst nightmare and we now ask that we be left alone to grieve at this very difficult time."
Thames Valley Police have confirmed they are now investigating the case along with the Health and Safety Executive.
Stephanie Trotter, from the charity C.O. Gas Safety, told Heart that Katie's tragic death should act as a warning to us all: "You can't sense carbon monoxide using your human senses. You can't smell it, touch it or see it. That's what makes it so deadly.
You need to be aware that any appliance powered by any fuel that burns could be emitting C.O. You have to keep it clean and have it regularly serviced by those qualified to service that particular appliance."