Man denies manslaughter after woman dies at slapping therapy workshop

A 60-year-old man has pleaded not guilty to the manslaughter by gross negligence of a woman who died while attending a slapping therapy workshop at a country hotel.

Danielle Carr-Gomm, 71, died at Cleeve House in Seend, Wiltshire, where she was taking part in a workshop to help her diabetes on October 20 in 2016.

The workshop is understood to involve paida lajin therapy, which sees patients being slapped or slapping themselves repeatedly.

Mrs Carr-Gomm, from Lewes, East Sussex, was previously said by her family to have embraced alternative and holistic medicine and therapies.

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The hearing took place at Winchester Crown Court (Chris Ison/PA)

Hongchi Xiao, of Cloudbreak, California, entered a not guilty plea to the manslaughter charge during a short hearing at Winchester Crown Court.

The charge alleges that between October 18 and 21, 2016, the defendant “whilst delivering a paida lajin workshop unlawfully killed Danielle Carr-Gomm, who was at the time attending the workshop and to whom he owed a duty of care and, in particular, to take reasonable steps to ensure that urgent medical assistance was sought when the aforementioned Danielle Carr-Gomm was suffering from a medical crisis, namely ketoacidosis, by breaching that duty in such a way and/or to such an extent as to amount to gross negligence, thereby causing her death”.

Diabetic ketoacidosis, also known as DKA, occurs when there is a severe lack of insulin in the body meaning that it cannot use sugar for energy and starts to use fat instead.

The defendant, who wore a jumper and fleece for the hearing, was charged in November having been extradited to the UK from Australia.

Jessica Clarke, defending, told the court: “The deceased was an avid follower and ran her own courses of the practice.”

Judge Timothy Mousley KC adjourned the case for a four-week trial to start on June 26 with a further case management hearing to be held on February 8.

He told the defendant: “I have fixed a timetable for your case now and the trial date has been fixed to start on June 26.

“There will be a hearing before that on February 8 which you will be required to attend.

“In the meantime, at least, you will remain in custody.”

Wiltshire Police said in a statement released when the defendant was charged: “Hongchi Xiao, 60, of Cloudbreak, California, returned to the United Kingdom from Australia on an extradition warrant and has been taken to Gablecross custody (unit) in Swindon where he was charged.

“This relates to the death of Danielle Carr-Gomm, 71, at Cleeve House in Seend in October 2016.”

Mrs Carr-Gomm, who was born in France and moved to the UK aged 21, was diagnosed with diabetes in 1999 and struggled to inject insulin due to a fear of needles.

Speaking after her death, her son Matthew Carr-Gomm, who lives in New Zealand, said: “She was always keen to try and find alternative methods of treating and dealing with her diabetes and was very interested in alternative and holistic medicine and therapies.

“I know she was desperate to try and cure herself of this disease.

“She always maintained a healthy lifestyle and was adamant that nothing would stop her from living a full life.

“In recent years, mum was in a great place with a partner, a lovely home, and was travelling the world.

“She had a lot of life left in her.”

He said the death of Mrs Carr-Gomm had come as a “huge shock” to the family.

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