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Family sues Pennal resort over mother's airing cupboard death

Elizabeth Isherwood died at the resort in September 2017.

The family of a woman who died in an airing cupboard at a Pennal resort is suing the owners of the holiday complex.

Elizabeth Isherwood was staying at the Plas Talgarth resort in September 2017 when she got stuck in an airing cupboard in the middle of the night. The 60-year-old from Wolverhampton died of hypothermia after fighting to free herself from the cupboard for several hours.

Mrs Isherwood used a pipe she had broken to try and cut through the wall but water spraying from the other end of the pipe drenched her, accelerating the hypothermia.

Elizabeth Isherwood became trapped on the first night of her one week stay at the complex. Credit: Bing

Her son, Craig Isherwood, said he is now seeking compensation from the resort owners Macdonald Resorts. Mr Isherwood believes the company was negligent in failing to check whether the door handle was working properly.

The 33-year-old said he was bringing the legal action to try to prevent any other family going through a similar ordeal.

My mother died in the most terrible circumstances you could imagine [...] Mum was fit and healthy and had years of a very happy life ahead of her.

She had been playing golf almost on a daily basis and enjoyed looking after my two daughters, for whom she provided lots of care. She had a great job as a part-time carer which she thoroughly enjoyed because it meant she was able to meet lots of new people.

The legal action is not about the compensation, because how can you put a value on a life? It is about the fact that this should never have happened. I just want the company to admit that they made a mistake in not checking the door properly and make sure that this cannot happen to anyone else.

– Craig Isherwood
Mr Isherwood says he wants to prevent any other family going through the same ordeal.

Mr Isherwood is being represented by Adam Wilson from law firm FBC Manby Bowdler. Mr Wilson said “This was a quite horrific tragedy. There is no amount of money which can compensate Mr Isherwood and his two children for the loss of a much-loved mother and grandmother."

“The central issue is whether the company was negligent in not correctly maintaining the door at the property, which we believe to be the case.”

An inquest earlier this year ruled Mrs Isherwood died of misadventure.

Macdonald Resorts say they cannot comment at this stage.