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Thursday, 31 July 2014

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Carlisle family's payout after holiday from hell

A Carlisle family whose holiday was ruined by an outbreak of E.coli have been awarded thousands of pounds in compensation.

Turkey holiday family photo
Nicola Nugent with her children Abbey, Daniel and Zak

Nicola and Craig Nugent, of Queensway, Morton, are among a group of almost 600 holidaymakers to receive payouts totalling £1.7m.

They took action against tour operator First Choice following their holiday from hell in Turkey in 2009.

Hygiene at the hotel – the Holiday Village in the resort of Sarigerme, Dalaman – was so bad that their 18-month-old son Zak became seriously ill.

He was later hospitalised for tests which revealed he had contracted E.coli. His sister Abbey, then nine, was also affected and missed a month of school as a result.

“It’s quite scary really. E.coli be really serious. It can cause kidney failure. People can die from it,” said Nicola.

The mum also tested positive and, while eldest son Daniel, then six, and dad Craig were unaffected, their dream holiday – to celebrate the couple’s 10th wedding anniversary – was still ruined because little Zak was so poorly.

They later realised it was not just their family that had been affected so, after failing to get anywhere with First Choice, they decided to join specialist legal firm Irwin Mitchell’s mass legal action.

Nicola said they have now been awarded pay-outs totalling about £7,000 incompensation. She is pleased it is over, but the award doesn’t mean they can afford another holiday as a family because the compensation has been paid separately to each individual.

Nicola, Craig and Daniel have received about £500 each, with Zak and Abbey getting bigger payments because they were more seriously affected – but the children cannot access their money until they turn 18.

“I don’t begrudge my kids anything, but I don’t feel I have been properly reimbursed for the holiday,” she said. “Zak was so poorly we were up all night with him. We couldn’t do the things we’d planned.

“Nobody came out of that holiday well.”

The notorious Holiday Village hotel in Sarigerme featured on BBC’s Watchdog consumer show in 2009 as many guests had reported falling ill after staying there. During the legal case, food and hygiene standards at the hotel were called into question.

Guests reported undercooked food served lukewarm and in some cases appeared to be re-served at later sittings.

Nicola said after a few days Zak started to suffer from sickness, diarrhoea and a temperature. “He was only 18 months, still in nappies. At first we thought it was just an upset tummy from being in a different country. But he was really ill.

“I didn’t realise at the time other people were ill or I’d have done something about it then. When we got back he was still ill so were sent to Carlisle hospital. He tested positive for E.coli – I never for a minute thought it was that.

“Abbey then also tested positive. She wasn’t allowed to go to school for a month.

“When I looked into it I found that this had been going on for ages. That’s why we decided to take action.”

Suki Chhokar, who represented those affected on behalf of Irwin Mitchell, said she hopes it will serve as a lesson to others: “We remain very concerned that some hotels and tour operators are still not taking adequate precautions to protect the health.”

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