British woman screamed when cops said partner died in their hotel room

British woman screamed ‘Oh my God – he’s dead?’ when police said her former rugby league partner had died in their hotel room – as they investigate if ‘erotic game’ was to blame

  • EXCLUSIVE: Lovers’ ‘bedroom antics’ took tragic turn as man, 40, had ‘seizure’
  • A woman, 44, was hospitalised with cuts and bruises following incident 
  • The £350-a-night four-star hotel is minutes away from Florentine landmarks
  • Police: ‘There is blood in the room and the forensic teams are working there’

A British woman screamed ‘Oh my God – he’s dead?’ when police broke the news to her in hospital that her former rugby league star partner had died in their hotel room.

The 44-year-old – whose identity is known by MailOnline – was found semi naked and covered in blood after screaming for help from guests and staff.

Paramedics raced to the luxury £350 a night Hotel Continentale in Florence, Italy, early on Saturday morning and discovered Ricky Bibey, 40, dead on the floor.

The woman was rushed to the city’s Careggi hospital in a serious condition where she has since undergone several operations for severe blood loss.

Today a prosecution source exclusively told MailOnline: ‘The woman is in a serious condition but thankfully she is stable, although her condition means that we haven’t been able to take a full statement from her.

‘When we told her that her partner had died she screamed ‘Oh my God – he’s dead ?’ She said she had no idea and then she had to be calmed down. She was in a terrible way and has had several operations.

‘No formal statement has been taken from her and she is unlikely to be questioned for several days until we get the go ahead from the doctors.’

Circumstances surrounding the death of Mr Bibey are still unclear and a post mortem was due to be carried out later this week after a delay due to ‘family matters’ and his brother is thought to be in Florence. 

Emergency services vehicles gathered outside the hotel earlier today after the tragic death

Investigators consult their notes as they probe the death and injury at the swish hotel

Police said they’re still trying to determine the exact cause of death and injury to the woman

MailOnline can also exclusively reveal that a file for ‘manslaughter against persons unknown’ has also been opened by the Florence prosecutor Ester Nocera – although investigators are satisfied no third party is involved.

The prosecution source said: ‘We have to open an official file because at the moment we still have an unexplained death in circumstances that are far from clear.

‘More will be explained when we speak to the woman properly and when the results of the post mortem are known.

‘What we do know is that the couple returned from a night out in the early hours of the morning and then went to their room on the first floor and we know they started having consensual sex.

‘But what we need to establish is if something happened later to make that sex non consensual and only the woman can tell us that.’

A police source told MailOnline: ‘The people involved are both British and at the moment we are working on two theories an erotic game that went wrong’. Pictured: Continentale suite

Marks have been found on Mr Bibey’s neck and wrists and prosecutors want to establish if this was part of consensual sex or whether he suffered them as he tried to defend himself, while the woman also has injuries to her body.

The source added: ‘Both the man and the woman have injuries to their bodies, it’s possible this could result from consensual sex and then later became defensive injuries as the sex became non-consensual.

‘At this moment we cannot exclude any theory and that’s why we really need to speak to the woman to get a clearer picture of what happened.

‘It could have been an erotic game that went wrong which led to his death from some sort of medical incident, we just don’t know yet.’

Police have recovered objects from the couple’s rooms and medical experts are also examining photographs of the Manchester woman’s injuries.

The couple landed at Pisa airport last Friday and then took a train to Florence, checking into their hotel before going out for the night.

The £350-a-night Hotel Continentale (terrace pictured) was the scene of the accident

MailOnline can also reveal that the woman – a mother of three – has tested positive for drugs, with traces of cocaine in her body according to media reports.

Official police sources contacted by MailOnline and asked about the developments said: ‘We can’t go into the specific details but let’s just say they have good informants.’

La Nazione and La Repubblica newspaper reported how doctors where she was being treated said the drugs tests had come back positive before an operation.

Today the first-floor hotel room where the incident happened was blocked off with corridor doors leading to it shut and a hand sanitizer unit placed in front.

Police have contacted Interpol in Rome to ask for background checks on the couple from colleagues in Manchester.

Staff called police after the woman asked a chambermaid for help.

The hotel is a few minutes’ walk from the heart of the city which is popular with British tourists

Paramedics raced to the hotel, a stone’s throw from the famous Ponte Vecchio bridge in the Renaissance city of Florence, and the woman was taken to the city’s Careggi hospital where she was said to be in a serious but stable condition.

The couple, believed to be from Manchester, had only arrived at the hotel on Friday night and the alarm was raised early on Saturday morning. 

There were also unconfirmed reports in the Italian media the man who died was an ‘amateur league’ rugby player. 

A police source told MailOnline: ‘The people involved are both British and at the moment we are working on two theories an erotic game that went wrong or some sort of domestic argument, but the general direction is that of an erotic game.

‘The man was found with a series of cuts, bruises and other injuries on his body and so was the woman, although she was more seriously hurt and the man appears to have had some sort of seizure.

‘There is blood in the room and the forensic teams are working there at the moment while the woman has been taken to hospital for treatment. 

The man is thought to have had a seizure during the ‘erotic game’ in the swanky hotel room

The man died moments away from iconic Florence landmark Ponte Vecchio on the River Arno

‘Her current condition is serious but she is stable and her injuries are not life-threatening. We hope to question her at some point in the next few hours.’

Sources said the couple were from Manchester and they had arrived at the hotel late Friday night.

The pair went out shortly after arriving on Friday and returned just before 2am on Saturday with witnesses saying they were in ‘high spirits’.

Police sources said the woman had a child through a previous relationship but was not married to the man who died.

The hotel is a few minutes’ walk from the heart of the city which is popular with British holidaymakers. Prince Charles and former PM Tony Blair are regular visitors.

In travel guides the £350-a-night hotel is described as ‘playfully chic’ and it has a rooftop bar and spa and is popular with ‘honeymooners and those looking for a romantic weekend’. 

A source said: ‘The woman had raised the alarm after a chambermaid knocked on the door but some of the guests had already called reception to report shouting and banging coming from the room.’

TV news footage showed several police cars and an ambulance parked outside the hotel as forensic teams walked in and out of the foyer, while tourists looked on from the nearby Ponte Vecchio bridge.

Local magistrate Ester Nocera has opened an investigation into the tragedy and was also seen walking into the hotel and speaking with forensic teams.

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