Sheffield couple take legal action over illness at holiday hotel

A Sheffield couple whose holiday as ruined after they were struck down with a severe gastric illness at a hotel are taking legal action.

They are among a group of 13 holidaymakers who fell ill at a five-star hotel in Cape Verde between February and August 2018.

Law firm Irwin Mitchell has taken on the case and started legal proceedings.

At least eight of those who fell ill on holiday sought medical attention on their return to the UK and it is claimed some of them have continued to suffer serious health complications since.

Emerald Hutton and John Rossiter, from Sheffield

Emerald Hutton and John Rossiter from Sheffield, stayed at Hotel Riu Touareg in July 2018.

They booked through tour operator TUI UK Limited but instead of enjoying their summer break they reported suffering from gastric symptoms including diarrhoea, abdominal pain and weight loss.

Emerald, and John, both 24, started feeling unwell on day three of their 10-day break.

On their return to the UK, Emerald visited a walk-in centre regarding her symptoms, which continued until the end of July, and John’s symptoms continued until the middle of August.

They told lawyers they had concerns over hygiene at the hotel and claimed food at the buffet-style restaurant was lukewarm, left uncovered and had flies around it.

Emerald said: “At the time, we were both final year students at university and we saved up all this money for a holiday to celebrate us graduating. We expected it to be amazing, but sadly it just didn’t feel clean or hygienic which is the minimum we would expect from a five-star hotel.

“While we can’t change what happened, we just want to know why we were so ill and help prevent it from happening to anyone else.”

John, a PE and maths teacher, added: “I wish I could turn back the clock and stop us from going on that plane that day, but of course that isn’t possible. All we want now is answers.”

Irwin Mitchell has represented holidaymakers returning from the hotel over issues in 2013, 2016 and 2017.

The firm is also currently representing over 40 holidaymakers who visited the hotel in 2019.

Lawyer Hannah Clifford said: “It’s very concerning that a number of people fell ill with serious gastric symptoms after staying at this resort in Cape Verde.

“The effects of gastric illness are often severe and lasting, and should never be downplayed as a lot of people affected continue to suffer issues for a long time afterwards.

“Our clients still have concerns and questions over how they fell ill, so we’ve been left with no option but to issue proceedings to provide them with the answers they deserve and to help them to recover compensation for the suffering they have experienced. We now call on TUI to work with us in bringing this case to a resolution.

“It’s also vital that, where appropriate, any lessons from this case are learned to improve safety for other holidaymakers.”

In response, Tui said: “We’re sorry to hear of the customers’ experience at the Hotel Riu Touareg. As this is now a legal matter, it would be inappropriate to comment further.

“We’d like to reassure customers that we regularly audit all of the hotels we feature in respect of health and safety, including hygiene.”

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