She was their ‘darling angel’ with a heart of gold and everything to live for. But tragedy has struck the aristocratic Guinness family with the death of teenage heiress Honor Uloth in a freak swimming pool accident.
Last night her ‘utterly devastated’ family paid an emotional tribute – and revealed how the 19-year-old’s wish for her organs to be donated has saved other lives.
They said: ‘She always made it clear that if anything happened to her, she would like her organs to be donated to those in need.
‘The doctors say that, with the matches they have found, it looks like she is going to help save four lives and seriously enhance ten more.’
Miss Uloth was found unconscious at the bottom of a swimming pool during a family barbecue in the summer. This week a coroner ruled it was a tragic accident.
Her family said: ‘We have lost a daughter and sister who brought untold light and joy into our lives. She was so full of fun, laughter, kindness and adventure. She had this knack of bringing people together and making them feel good.’
The eldest daughter of Rupert Uloth and Lady Louisa Jane Guinness, whose father Benjamin Guinness was the 3rd Earl of Iveagh, she was spotted in the pool by her 15-year-old brother Rufus. He dived in to help her, the inquest heard.
He pulled her out, but doctors were unable to save the Oxford Brookes University history of art student. She had suffered a broken shoulder and brain injuries, and she was pronounced dead in hospital six days later.
The current Earl of Iveagh and the Guinness brewery family have an estimated worth of around £906million, and Miss Uloth’s death is the latest of a series of tragedies to strike the dynasty.
On July 31, four families were at the barbecue at a £3.5million mansion overlooking Chichester Harbour in Sussex. Ice buckets filled with bottles of wine, beer and non-alcoholic drinks were dotted around the large grounds that had a climbing frame, a tennis court, a firepit and a large pool with an attached hot tub, the inquest at Crawley Coroner’s Court was told.
Miss Uloth, who had not been drinking alcohol, was soaking in the hot tub with two friends before going for a swim around 11pm.
During the course of the evening there was music playing and everyone was enjoying themselves in the warm weather. The other two young ladies remained in the hot tub and they were looking out onto the harbour with their backs to the pool and did not see where Honor went.
‘A short while later, Honor’s brother was walking back towards the hot tub…and saw her lying at the bottom of the pool. He raised the alarm and rescued her from the pool. The adults commenced CPR while an ambulance was called.’
Paramedics managed to keep her alive and she was rushed to St Richard’s Hospital in Chichester before being transferred to St Thomas’s Hospital in London, where she died ‘quietly and peacefully’ on August 6.
Mr Charnock said: ‘Police conducted an investigation…but no one saw what happened to Honor or knew how she came to be lying at the bottom of the pool.’
He said one police theory was Miss Uloth had leaped off a rock used as a jumping platform and somehow hit her head on it.
Another was she had slipped on the wet surface and banged her head, while a third theory was she had jumped into the pool and then hit her head, as she surfaced, on a raised lip around the pool which people can sit on. Senior Coroner Penelope Schofield said: ‘I record a conclusion of accident.’
She was the eldest of three children by Mr Uloth, 56, a former deputy editor of Country Life magazine, and her 53-year-old mother, Lady Louisa, whose father Benjamin Guinness was the chairman of the brewery empire from 1962 to 1986 and then its president until his death in 1992.
Last night Mr Uloth told the Mail: ‘Honor was a diamond girl with a heart of gold whose ability to shine and bring lightness and joy was her life signature.’