An ex-policewoman who died after getting trapped naked in an airing cupboard on holiday tried for more than 24 hours to free herself – but other hotel guests thought the banging was maintenance work, her family have claimed.
Elizabeth Isherwood, known as Mary, died of hypothermia after she became trapped in the airing cupboard at the time share in Plas Talgarth holiday complex, near Machynlleth, Wales.
The 60-year-old, from Wolverhampton, West Midlands, managed to break down a pipe from the airing cupboard and tried to break down a wall to free herself, but died from hypothermia after getting covered in water.
Her family – who are now considering legal action against Plas Talgarth – say other guests reported hearing banging for more than 24 hours but assumed that there was maintenance being done to the property.
It was only when water started to leak from the property a week later that staff found her locked in the airing cupboard.
Mary’s son Craig, 32, and ex-husband Clive, revealed that she had been staying at the timeshare, which the family co-owned, by herself, for a week.
They think the keen sports enthusiast took a swim in the complex’s pool before returning to her room and, after going to bed that evening without unpacking, woke in the middle of the night to use the en-suite bathroom.
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On her way back to bed, her family think she mistook the door to an airing cupboard as the door back into her bedroom and entered without realising where she was going. When the door closed behind her, its handle fell off, trapping her inside.
Her body was found a week later after she failed to check out of the complex and leaking water was discovered coming from her room.
Mary’s ex-husband Clive Isherwood, 65, said he had met her for a drink the night before she went to stay in the timeshare.
The couple had met in the police force, but split almost 30 years ago when Mary came out as a lesbian, but had always remained on good terms.
“It was our time share that we’d bought together when we were married but we’d recently sold it,” he said.
“The staff at the complex had given Mary some vouchers to use for a final stay. She would’ve usually gone with friends but nobody could make it during that week so she went alone.
“We think she arrived there early on the Saturday, had gone for a swim and then gone back to the room after she’d checked in.
“She’d gone to bed, then woke in the night to use the bathroom and had somehow managed to get trapped in the airing cupboard which is inside the en-suite bathroom.
“The broken pipe sprayed water throughout the airing cupboard, leaving her drenched.”
The cold water and the fact she was naked brought on hypothermia – which was given as the cause of death at an inquest held at Caernarfon earlier this week.
Her son Craig said: “She hadn’t even unpacked as when they found her body a week later her clothes and case were still in the room untouched.
“We are all absolutely devastated to find out what happened. Mum was so sporty, fit, healthy, and loved playing golf.
“If anyone could have got out of that cupboard it would have been Mum.