Three people have been arrested on suspicion of manslaughter after a diabetic woman died following a workshop based around slapping as a form of “self-healing”.
Danielle Carr-Gomm, 71, was found dead in her room on 20 October at Cleeve House in Seend, Wiltshire.
An inquest was opened and adjourned on Friday. Wiltshire police are treating Carr-Gomm’s death as suspicious and confirmed the arrest of three people, who have been released on bail until mid-January.
“Police were called to an address in Seend in the early hours of 20 October following the sudden death of a woman,” a spokeswoman for the force said.
“Inquiries are continuing. A 64-year-old woman, a 53-year-old man and a 51-year-old man have been arrested on suspicion of manslaughter.”
It is understood that one of those arrested was Hongchi Xiao, a Chinese therapist running the paida lajin retreat. He promotes the controversial therapy as a way of purging toxins from patients by slapping them or getting them to slap themselves.
Last year, Hongchi was questioned by police in Australia after the death of a seven-year-old boy from Sydney who had attended one of his workshops.
Carlo Zacca, the manager of Cleeve House, said staff were doing all they could to help police with the investigation.
“I don’t know any more than what the police are saying. This was a very sad and shocking event. We are very sorry for the lady and for her family,” he said.
Carr-Gomm’s son Matthew, 43, said his mother, from Lewes, East Sussex, had been given false hope.
“I am certain that if she hadn’t gone on this course, she would still be alive today. She was convinced this alternative treatment was going to have a positive effect,” he said.
“She had a lifelong fear of needles, so diabetes was probably the worst illness she could get. That was why she was so keen to try alternative therapies.”