A newly-wed groom drowned in the swimming pool of a five-star Dubai hotel while his wife unwittingly took photos of him on her phone, an inquest has heard. Maira Shahid was watching Mohammed Majid Malik, swimming in a hotel pool on the last day of their honeymoon and taking pictures on her mobile phone before realising he was getting into difficulty. An inquest in Ampthill, Bedfordshire, heard she then ‘risked everything’ by jumping into the 3.6 metre deep water to try to rescue her drowning husband – despite the fact that she couldn’t swim.
Mr Malik, 28, had waded backwards into a pool in Dubai as Mrs Shahid took pictures on her phone. But the inquest heard that he got into difficulty after dropping out of his depth. Two hotel guests dived in and managed to pull Mr Malik out of the water but staff were unable to resuscitate him. At a previous hearing Mrs Shahid said:
‘I could see his hands going up and down and I went into the pool to try to get him up but I couldn’t. I was screaming for help and couldn’t get hold of his hands.’
After going out for dinner the couple sat by the pool at the Jebel Ali Beach Hotel in Dubai and Mr Malik, a mortgage advisor from Luton, Bedfordshire, went for a swim. Mrs Shahid added:
‘Majid said he wanted to go for a walk, that was the first time we went there [to the pool]. We were there paddling and chatting then we went around the other side and sat there. He said he wanted to swim. I asked him if he could swim as it was our first holiday together and he said he had done it before at the gym.’
The inquest, held on Wednesday in Ampthill, Bedfordshire., heard how Mr Malik was pronounced dead 35 minutes after being pulled out of the pool on August 15 last year.
His sister, Safiyah, also told the inquest how Mr Malik used to go swimming quite often and had known how to swim for a while. Recording a verdict of accidental death, assistant coroner Ian Pears said:
‘Maira is not able to swim but she risked everything to try and save him. She then appears to have been able to get back out to call for help but it was too late. It is quite shocking to see she [Mrs Shahid] more or less recorded his death without realising it and I can understand why she is depressed about that.’
Speaking after the hearing, Mr Malik’s father Mohammed paid tribute to the 28-year-old. He said:
‘He was a good son who was always helpful and thought about his parents. He was well liked and no-one had ever had a bad word to say against him.’
Mr Malik’s sister Safiyah also said:
‘He always thought of others before himself and it’s still a difficult time for our family. He was the light of our family and is truly missed, but never forgotten. All we have are happy memories which will be treasured.’