Highlands & Islands

Mother suing Thomas Cook over 'abduction'

Lois and Rose on holiday
Image caption Lois and Rose were staying at the Royal Wings Hotel in Antalya

A mother, who says her five-year-old child was abducted from a holiday kids club in Turkey, is suing travel firm Thomas Cook over the incident.

Janet Alexander, 46, from Inverness, said her daughter Rose was taken by a stranger from the club at the Royal Wings Hotel in Antalya.

Ms Alexander said Rose was later found with a woman, walking near a main road within the hotel's grounds.

Thomas Cook said it was investigating the incident.

Ms Alexander said she was on a family break at Easter with Rose and her sister Lois when the incident happened.

'Started running'

She said that she left Rose at the resort's supervised play area so that she could take Lois, aged nine, to a scuba diving lesson.

However, when they returned an hour later, they discovered that Rose was gone.

She said: "I was completely distraught, completely. In fact, there was chaos as everybody realised she was missing and started running around and people from around the pool started looking for her.

"I was really quite frozen with fear."

Lois was among those who joined the search. She said: "We couldn't find her and eventually we found her though. She was so happy she started crying."

Image caption Janet said she was "frozen" when she discovered Rose was missing
Image caption The girls were travelling to Turkey for a family holiday at Easter time

Rose was found unharmed 20 minutes later in the company of the mystery woman.

The pair were led back to the hotel by a guest, but the woman was never arrested and later left the scene.

Janet Alexander said: "Had Rose even followed her or whatever, you would take a child back, and in my heart I know that there was some sort of unpleasant motive behind this.

"It was hundreds and hundreds of metres away that she had taken her."

Safe and secure

Ms Alexander accused Thomas Cook of failing to respond to repeated calls for help during and after the incident.

She added: "I think it's terrible that they would leave a family abandoned in a foreign country and not make sure, not only that we were ok, but that the current users of the facilities are ok as well, because obviously I felt the other children that were using the club were then at risk."

Thomas Cook 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 company said its customer welfare team had contacted Ms Alexander to offer support.

The Royal Wings Hotel has denied that an abduction took place and maintained that the hotel's children's club was safe and secure.

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