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Open verdict at inquest into superbike champion Sean Emmett’s second wife’s death

Open verdict at inquest into superbike champion Sean Emmett’s second wife’s death

Pratibha walia
Open verdict at inquest into superbike champion Sean Emmett’s second wife’s death

The wife of a British superbike champion who plummeted to her death from a hotel on her honeymoon died of head and chest injuries resulting from the fall, a coroner ruled today.

Newly-wed Abigail Elson, 27, died after falling from a fourth-floor window at the Jumeirah Creekside Hotel in Dubai.

Her husband Sean Emmett has denied any involvement in his wife’s death, maintaining she ‘flipped’ out of the window after dropping her wedding ring.

The couple, who were on their honeymoon, had been on a 12-hour drinking session before returning to their hotel room on the fourth floor in February 2013. 

Former Grand Prix racer Mr Emmett was arrested by detectives from Surrey Police and the Dubai authorities on his return to the UK in December 2013 – but no charges were ever brought. 

Coroner Alison Hewitt recorded an open conclusion at an inquest today.

Mr Emmett been arrested by Surrey Police and the Dubai authorities on his return to the UK in December, but no charges were ever brought. Pictured, the couple together on their wedding day

Abigail Elson, a 27-year-old vicar's daughter, fell from a window at the Jumeirah Creekside Hotel on February 19, 2013 on her honeymoon

Abigail Elson, a 27-year-old vicar’s daughter, fell from a window at the Jumeirah Creekside Hotel on February 19, 2013 on her honeymoon

Emmett with his third wife Lana Saoud on their wedding day in 2017

Emmett with his third wife Lana Saoud on their wedding day in 2017

Newlyweds had a stormy relationship which lead to prison time, inquest hears 

The inquest heard details about Mr Emmett’s stormy relationship with Abigail and his convictions and cautions for domestic incidents involving her, his first wife Louise and his current wife Lana.

The coroner was told about more than eight reported occasions, which took place between January 2011 and February 2013, where allegations of physical abuse and verbal arguments were made during his relationship with Abigail.

The coroner was told how Mr Emmett was jailed for three months for hitting his third wife and breached a previous order relating to his first wife. 

Ms Elson was reportedly pushed, punched, strangled, and even had her head shut in a car door by Mr Emmett. In one police report, she described him as ‘controlling and jealous.’ 

While giving evidence, Emmett was asked more than 30 times by Alexandra Felix, the lawyer for Abigail’s parents about incidents of domestic violence that took place between the couple.

On each occasion he responded: ‘I decline to answer.’

Ms Felix accused him of being ‘controlling’ and becoming ‘violent and obnoxious when drunk.’

The inquest was told that both frequently visited pubs and that much of their relationship revolved around drinking alcohol, which often resulted in physical and verbal abuse. 

Emmett denied being violent or controlling but his legal team did not challenge details of his past.

Police told the hearing that in 2004, Emmett was given a caution for breaching a civil injunction which had been put in place between him and his first wife Louise, following allegations of domestic violence.

Emmett’s former neighbours at the home he shared with her in Surrey told MailOnline that police were frequently called to the property and it was widely known that they had a ‘difficult’ relationship.

Police also told the inquest that both Emmett and Abigail spent the night at a local police station following a fight at their home in Surrey and that she confided to her parents and a friend that he was ‘often violent towards her.’  

Announcing the verdict, Ms Hewitt said: ‘At about 01.58 hours, the deceased fell from an open window to the ground below, thereby sustaining fatal injuries.’

Mr Emmett did not attend the inquest at Woking Coroner’s Court in Surrey.

Ms Elson’s parents Carolyn Elson and Reverend Christopher Elson attended the hearing but declined to comment after the verdict.

The inquest previously heard claims that superbike champion and father-of-three Emmett had throttled his wife two years before her death.

A talented musician, Ms Elson attended the Royal Academy of Music and Cardiff University and was set for a promising career as a lawyer before suddenly dropping out of law college shortly before her exams, meeting Mr Emmett in a local pub soon after. 

The couple had a tumultuous relationship and police were called to the house they shared on several occasions prior to their marriage.

In one incident in July 2011, Ms Elson’s ear required stitching at hospital and she told police officers at the time that Mr Emmett had punched her.

Mr Emmett ‘lied about the incident’ and said that she had cut her ear with scissors, the coroner was told. 

The inquest also heard how Ms Elson had once jumped in front of a moving car in Weybridge after she found out Mr Emmett had abandoned her during a night out and gone home. 

The couple had married just two weeks earlier at a ceremony in Cape Town, South Africa, before flying to Dubai on February 18 to celebrate their honeymoon.    

The inquest had heard how Mr Emmett had allegedly become ‘angry’ with his new bride moments before she fell the following day, because she refused to ‘obey’ him and turn down the music she was playing.   

Mr Emmett had told the inquest that after putting on loud music, Ms Elson was dancing around the room as he sat on the bed having a coffee.

CCTV footage from the hotel on the night of her death showed Mr Emmett and Ms Eldon searching for a ring in the hours before her death. 

He denied becoming ‘irritated’ and angry over her refusal to turn the volume down and her wedding ring subsequently falling, insisting they were ‘happy’ and ‘merry.’

Alexandra Felix, the lawyer for Ms Elson’s parents, Reverend Christopher Elson and his wife Carolyn, claimed she threw her wedding ring out of the window as the two argued and did not accidentally drop it. 

Mr Emmett claimed that they opened their fourth-floor window to have a cigarette and were having a light-hearted conversation about Ms Elson having to obey him, following their marriage. 

He insisted that they were ‘standing comfortably.’

Ms Elson's family had raised the alarm with police, claiming Mr Emmett (right) had delivered beatings upon his younger partner before their wedding

Inquest was told Sean Emmett, 50, was 'excessively jealous' and 'controlling' during their relationship

Ms Elson’s family complained about a history of alleged beatings which their daughter said were meted out to her by the former professional motorcyclist

Mr Emmett met Lana Saoud (pictured) weeks after his wife's death. The couple married in 2017

Mr Emmett met Lana Saoud (pictured) weeks after his wife’s death. The couple married in 2017 

Mr Emmett alleged that Ms Elson kept pulling her wedding ring on and off her finger and joking ‘I obey you’ when she had it on and ‘I don’t obey you’ when she took it off.

He added: ‘It slipped out of her hand as she was playing with it. And then it went ‘ting, ting, ting and fell to the floor.’

Mr Emmett admitted that he thought it was a ‘bit queer’ that a fourth-floor window with such a drop could fully open but he did not consider it dangerous. 

Ms Elson had received £35,000 as a result of botched surgery that had taken place at Cardiff Hospital while she was studying in the city, which paid for their wedding. 

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Ms Elson told a close friend in a Facebook message that she did not want Mr Emmett to have access to her money because she feared that he would squander it and accused him of being a ‘control freak,’ the inquest was told. 

The inquest had been told that Ms Elson visited her GP over her drinking, which was recorded at 200 units per week.

A medical examination of Ms Elson’s body showed that she had bruises to her arms, legs and thighs. Mr Emmett said that he could not explain how she got them.

Ms Elson fell to her death from a fourth-storey window at the Jumeirah Creekside Hotel in Dubai (pictured). Mr Emmett said his wife had been reaching over their balcony in the honeymoon suite to try and retrieve her wedding ring when she fell

Ms Elson fell to her death from a fourth-storey window at the Jumeirah Creekside Hotel in Dubai (pictured). Mr Emmett said his wife had been reaching over their balcony in the honeymoon suite to try and retrieve her wedding ring when she fell

MailOnline can reveal that Emmett met the Lebanese national in Dubai, just weeks after Abigail’s death while he was ordered to remain in the country as police investigated it.

Emmett returned to Britain in November 2013 with Ms Saoud joining him soon after – after Dubai police concluded that Abigail’s death had been suicide. 

They married in October 2017 in Weybridge, Surrey.

Mr Emmett, a former professional Grand Prix racer, was asked to give his account of the events leading up to Ms Elson's death

Mr Emmett, a former professional Grand Prix racer, was asked to give his account of the events leading up to Ms Elson’s death

Det. Con. Snape told the coroner how Mr Emmett had breached a domestic violence protection order ‘immediately’ after it was imposed which was put in place to protect Ms Saoud. 

He was jailed for four weeks after being convicted in October 2014.

In January 2015, he then attacked Ms Saoud again, leading him to be jailed for 12 weeks for battery. She suffered a swollen nose and cheek bone and injuries to her neck. 

When asked by the coroner if he had been convicted of breaching a domestic violence protection order, Mr Emmett replied: ‘Yes.’

He was then warned that he would have to provide a detailed answer as he had been convicted for the offence.

Mr Emmett replied: ‘I’m very sorry about it, I regret it immensely. Thankfully, Lana and I have moved on from that and we have been happily married for three years.’

Earlier, the inquest heard about the moment Ms Saoud – whom he met in Dubai shortly after Ms Elson’s death – called the police after he hit her in 2015.

Lana Saoud sat in court as Ms Felix read out a transcript from a 999 call she made following the incident in January 2015.

In it, Ms Saoud tells a 999 operator: ‘My boyfriend is hitting me. My boyfriend is a wife beater.’ She adds: ‘Apologise right now. You are a wife beater.’

When asked about the incident Mr Emmett replied: ‘I decline to answer.’ 

MailOnline can reveal that Emmett’s conduct towards the women in his life led to his father Terry refusing to speak to him and a wider rift within the family.

Mr Emmett and his father had not spoken for ‘several years’ with sources close to the family revealing that he regularly expressed his disappointment at some of his son’s conduct.

The source added: ‘Terry died in 2009 with a broken heart because he felt so let down by Sean. He tried to intervene in all the domestic disputes he was involved in but eventually gave up and just stopped talking to him.’ 


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