Harpenden mum sues Virgin Holidays after suffering food poisoning horror


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Virgin Holidays is being sued by a local mum who contracted a life-threatening illness at a Carribean resort after food poisoning so severe that surgeons had to remove an internal organ.

According to a writ filed at London’s High Court Sarah Bowes-Phipps, of Curo Park, Frogmore, is suing the travel firm for more than £300,000 compensation.

The Herts Advertiser understands that over £280,000 of that claim is reimbursement for Mrs Bowes-Phipps’ travel insurers, as the 31 year old had to be airlifted to Florida for an emergency operation, and later flown back to the UK for further surgery.

The university equality officer, wife of St Albans district councillor Steve Bowes-Phipps, spent a month in hospital in the United States where she had to have her gall bladder removed after being diagnosed with salmonella and secondary septicaemia.

The writ states that Mrs Bowes-Phipps was staying at the Verandah Resort and Spa, Antigua, in September 2011 when she fell ill.

She had eaten a “small piece of an unknown fish in breadcrumbs, served lukewarm.”

In the writ, Mrs Bowes-Phipps’ barrister Asela Wijeyaratne said that Virgin sold the Bowes-Phipps an all-inclusive one-week package holiday based at the Carribean resort.

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Mr Wijeyaratne claimed that the mother-of-one suffered “life-threatening” food poisoning after ordering the catch of the day in the resort’s beach bar and grill.

After being awoken by “shooting, stabbing pains” in the early hours of the next morning, Mrs Bowes-Phipps was initially given medical attention locally, before being airlifted to Florida.

Her barrister claimed that Virgin, through its agents at the hotel, had “failed to ensure food and drink served to Mrs Bowes-Phipps was safe for human consumption”.

They had also “permitted stray cats and birds to enter the beach bar and grill restaurant with the consequent risk of contamination”.

Mrs Bowes-Phipps’ claim is for “personal injury, loss and damage including the costs of emergency transport and medical care”.

The defence of Virgin Holidays Ltd to the claim was not available from the court, and the contents of the writ have yet to be tested in evidence before a judge.