Inquest told Portsmouth nurse's husband arrested on suspicion of murder over wedding anniversary holiday death

THE family of a nurse whose husband was arrested on suspicion of her murder after she died on holiday have said they will not rest until justice is served.

Thursday, 12th April 2018, 7:00 am
Updated Thursday, 12th April 2018, 12:56 pm
David Amey

Jeanette Amey, 53, suffered a cardiac arrest on an operating table at hospital in the Dominican Republic after suffering four shattered ribs and a ruptured spleen on a holiday celebrating her 20th wedding anniversary with David Amey.

Mr Amey, 49, was arrested on suspicion of murder over ‘inconsistencies’ in his stories about how she suffered the injuries, an inquest heard.


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David Amey

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Jeanette Amey


Portsmouth Coroner’s Court heard he variously said the mother-of-two fell in the bathroom and in the bedroom at the Grand Bahia Principe Bavaro.

Mr Amey denied wrongdoing during the inquest saying he was a ‘model husband’, that his story had been ‘pure’ and they were having the ‘best holiday’.

The Crown Prosecution Service found ‘no criminal case to answer in this country’ after a five-year Hampshire police probe, despite twice reviewing that decision on request from Jeanette’s family.

Jeanette Amey's daughter Claire Harper

Consultant surgeon Dr Ralph Antrum told the two-day hearing that injuries such as hers would normally be linked to a fall from a motorbike or horse – and would have been ‘100 per cent’ survivable in the United Kingdom.

A pathologist and Dr Antrum agreed they would be ‘unlikely’ to have been caused by a simple fall to the floor.

Coroner David Horsley recorded an open conclusion, ruling he could not say whether a delay in her treatment, an assault or accident caused her death.

But Jeanette’s daughter Claire Harper – who directly asked Mr Amey at the inquest if he assaulted her mother – has said her family must have justice.

David Amey

Speaking to The News, she urged anyone with information about what happened to come forward. Claire, 33, of Portsmouth, said: ‘We will always be looking for justice for Jeanette and one way or another we will get it. People shouldn’t be afraid to come forward.

‘Please come forward, contact the police and let them know anything, no matter how insignificant the detail.’

And she paid tribute to her ‘hard-working dedicated’ Cosham mother and grandmother who she said was ‘highly-regarded’ at Queen Alexandra Hospital.

During the inquest Mr Amey, who was repeatedly warned by the coroner he did not have to say anything that would incriminate himself, confirmed he did not tell medics about the ‘fall’ and doctors treated her for gastroenteritis.

It was not until around 24 hours after her admission Jeanette, known as Jen, received a CT scan and the ruptured spleen was identified, in what Dr Antrum branded an ‘unacceptable’ delay.

Questioning Mr Amey, who is pursuing a medical negligence claim against the hospital, Claire said: ‘I know from previous holidays and situations that happened – did you assault her on that holiday?’

Jeanette Amey

He said: ‘No absolutely not, I’ve never assaulted her on any previous holiday so I don’t know what you’re on about.’

Acting Detective Inspector Gary Cable said Mr Amey told an insurance company his wife fell in the bathroom.

But Mr Amey later told police, and the inquest, that she fell in the bedroom.

Initially he gave a prepared statement to police detailing the fall but said he did not know how her ‘significant injuries’ were caused. In a second interview detectives put medical evidence to him and he declined to comment.

At the inquest he asked medics if going over speed bumps in a golf cart on the way to the hotel doctor could have caused the injuries. They said no.

Mr Amey said his wife had felt unwell at the pool side on September 12, 2012, before doubling up in pain at their hotel room in the evening at around 5.30pm.

He said he went into the bathroom and seconds later heard an ‘almighty thud’ and found her ‘crumpled in a heap’ on the floor between the bed and wall, with her saying she fainted.

With the help of a bellboy Mr Amey, of Cowplain, got her into the golf cart to see a doctor before she was transferred by ambulance to hospital.

Mrs Harper spoke with her mum on the phone who said she was ‘concerned’ about the level of care she was receiving, adding she was ‘scared’ at the time.

Surgeons operated and found two litres of blood from her ruptured spleen and despite CPR she died at 9pm.

Recording an open conclusion into her death, coroner Mr Horsley said there were several possibilities – her medical treatment, an assault and an accident, but said: ‘I couldn’t say on the standard of proof they are what happened.’

Jeanette Amey's daughter Claire Harper