Mother sues Thomas Cook over her child’s ‘abduction’ at Turkish resort

Janet Alexander, from Inverness, took her daughters Lois and Rose to Royal Wings Hotel, Antalya, in April for their first trip abroad.

On the third day of their week-long holiday, she left five-year-old Rose at a supervised kids’ club in the hotel while she took Lois, nine, to a scuba diving lesson.

But when she returned for Rose around an hour later the little girl had disappeared.

After a “frantic” search, Rose was spotted by another hotel guest walking near the main road with a woman.

Rose said she had thought the woman was a staff member, as the woman had been inside the play area.

When the woman invited Rose to “go for a walk”, she had thought it was okay as she had gone for outside walks at primary school.

Ms Alexander, 46, said she failed to get any answers from a Thomas Cook representative at the hotel, so she took her children to the police.

Police told Ms Alexander that, as Rose was not physically harmed and had been found safely, they could not investigate the matter any further.

Ms Alexander, a senior charge nurse at NHS Highland, said the experience had been “the most traumatic of my life”.

She added: “I thought my daughter was either dead or faced being trafficked and abused.

“No matter how much I process things it just leaves me in pieces. I’ve been shaking and in tears ever since it happened – I even struggle to leave the kids at school now.

“My work, neighbours, family and friends have all been really supportive.”

She said that, while the Turkish police had been “kind and sympathetic”, Thomas Cook had been “a disgrace”, going to “great lengths to ignore me”.

“What happened has changed our whole way of living and without even apology it’s like I can’t get closure and don’t know how to heal,” she said

Simon Richards, associate at Digby Brown Solicitors, is pursuing Ms Alexander’s civil claim and agreed the family had been “traumatised”.

“Thankfully Rose was safely reunited with her family but her abduction had a very serious and lasting detrimental impact,” he said.

“The Royal Wings Hotel breached its contractual duties by failing to look after children in its play area but Thomas Cook are ultimately responsible as it is the company who sold the holiday.”

A Thomas Cook spokesman said: “We were very concerned to hear of this incident and we understand how distressing it must have been.

“We are investigating thoroughly with the hotel to understand what happened and we will work with the hotel to make any required changes so that this can’t happen again.”

The hotel said its children’s club was safe and secure.

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