Macdonald Hotels & Resorts is being sued by the son of a woman who died from hypothermia after becoming trapped in an airing cupboard.
Former policewoman Elizabeth Isherwood (pictured), 60, from Wolverhampton, became trapped on the first night of her one-week stay in an apartment at the Plas Talgarth holiday complex near Machynlleth in Powys - owned by Macdonald - in September 2017.
An inquest heard the part-time care worker had got up in the middle of the night and became trapped in the cupboard, which was in the ensuite bathroom. She fought for several hours to free herself after the door handle malfunctioned, locking her inside.
Her son's lawyers have said that she clawed through brickwork and plaster to try to escape, using a pipe she had broken as a chisel. However, water spraying from the other end of the broken pipe drenched her, accelerating the onset of hypothermia.
She had been holidaying alone for the final time at the complex after the family had agreed to sell its share in the timeshare apartment. Her body was found by staff at the end of the week. The inquest ruled Elizabeth Isherwood died of misadventure.
Her son, Craig Isherwood is seeking compensation and alleges that Macdonald was negligent in failing to check whether the door handle was working properly.
He said: "My mother died in the most terrible circumstances you could imagine. We think she had been trying to escape for several hours… Because of the exertion her body temperature was sky high but when she stopped her temperature plummeted because she was soaked and hypothermia set in. We believe she died that night or the following day.
"Tragically, she had made a hole big enough to climb through, but did not realise her way out was only blocked by a picture screwed to the other side of the wall.
"A couple in a neighbouring apartment heard banging and thought they would report it if it went on after 5pm. Sadly, my mother gave up her attempt at five past five so they assumed it had been maintenance workers who had finished for the day…
"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 is being represented by Adam Wilson, an associate in the serious injury and clinical negligence team at FBC Manby Bowdler.
Wilson said: "We believe that this was a tragedy which could, and should have been avoided… 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."
He said the action would seek compensation for Elizabeth Isherwood's injuries and the loss of the care she had been giving to her grandchildren.
A spokesperson for Macdonald Hotels & Resorts said: "This was clearly a tragedy for Ms Isherwood and her family and our condolences go out to them. Given the possibility of legal action, it would be inappropriate to comment further at this stage."