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Norwich couple's compensation victory after honeymoon from hell

PUBLISHED: 16:00 31 May 2010 | UPDATED: 16:57 01 July 2010

Francis and Beverley Mayes

Francis and Beverley Mayes

Sarah Hall

A couple whose dream honeymoon became a holiday from hell are in line for a compensation pay-out after successful legal action against the tour operator.

A couple whose dream honeymoon became a holiday from hell are in line for a compensation pay-out after successful legal action against the tour operator.

Norwich couple Francis and Beverley Mayes, had been hoping for an idyllic two-week break in the Dominican Republic - but it turned into a nightmare.

Mr Mayes, 49, from Wherry Road, was struck by a bout of salmonella and amoebic dysentery, which was so severe the couple were forced to stay an extra week in the country while he was stuck in a hospital bed.

After finding out they were not the first people to fall seriously ill at the five-star Gran Bahia Principe Hotel, in Cayacoa, in May last year, they launched a legal battle against the agents behind the trip demanding compensation.

And a year on, tour operator TUI UK Ltd has admitted liability - which solicitors say will open the door to “substantial” compensation payments.

Builder Mr Mayes said: “My honeymoon turned into a complete nightmare. Months after I was back home after the holiday, I was still losing weight and feeling exhausted.

“It really shouldn't be a difficult job for travel companies to make sure that decent health and safety standards are in place at the accommodation they provide.

“I just had to take legal action because when you stay in a four or five star hotel, you don't expect to end up in hospital with food poisoning and my once in a lifetime experience will always be remembered for the wrong reasons.”

Mrs Mayes, 43, said: “We are pleased. It's taken a long time to get this far, but it is good for us that they have admitted liability. I just hope it means they will learn from it and be more careful about hygiene.”

Travel specialist Rajbir Somel, from solicitors Irwin Mitchell, who represented the Mayes and other holidaymakers, said: “We are very pleased that TUI UK Ltd has admitted liability for these unfortunate holidaymakers.

“We also represent nine other people who stayed at the same hotel last summer and we hope that TUI UK Ltd will go on to accept responsibility for their claims.

“We trust that the company will learn from these cases. Basic hygiene standards are the bare minimum that travellers should be able to expect of their accommodation and it is a tour operator's responsibility to ensure that these are in place.”

A spokeswoman for First Choice, the trading arm of TUI UK, said: “First Choice can confirm that it has admitted liability to several customers who experienced sickness while holidaying at the Gran Bahia Principe in the Dominican Republic.

“However, we continue to repeatedly request sufficient information concerning a number of other people who were allegedly taken ill to allow us to resolve each individual case.

“Our legal team has and will continue to attempt to progress this matter in a timely and fair manner at all times.

“First Choice is confident that is has acted in good faith at all times. We closely monitor all the hotels in which we operate with a view to ensuring that the strictest health and hygiene standards are maintained.”

Are you taking action after a holiday from hell? Tell us your story by calling Evening News reporter Dan Grimmer on 01603 772375 or email dan.grimmer@archant.co.uk

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