This Woman Died Trapped In An Airing Cupboard On Holiday. Now Her Son Is Suing The Resort

Sara C Nelson
Elizabeth Isherwood was locked naked in an airing cupboard at the Plas Talgarth holiday complex in Wales last year 

The son of a retired policewoman who died when she was locked naked in a hotel airing cupboard is suing the holiday resort.

Elizabeth Isherwood died on the first night of a one-week stay at the Plas Talgarth holiday complex near Machynlleth in Wales in September last year.

The 60-year-old was staying alone at the family timeshare for the last time after they agreed to sell it.

The grandmother-of-two battled for hours to free herself from the cupboard, but other hotel guests who heard banging coming from the “fit and sporty” mum’s room in the middle of the night thought it was maintenance work, her family claim.

Isherwood, also known as Mary to friends and family, clawed through brickwork and plaster as she fought to break down a wall to free herself but died from hypothermia after getting covered in water when a pipe she had broken to use as a chisel drenched her.

Her son Craig, 33, is now seeking compensation from holiday resort owners Macdonald Resorts over the tragedy. He claims the company was negligent in failing to check whether the airing cupboard’s door handle was working properly.

An inquest heard Isherwood, a part-time care worker from Wolverhampton, had got up in the middle of the night and became trapped in the cupboard in the en-suite bathroom, recording a verdict of misadventure.

Her body was found by hotel staff at the end of the week after they noticed water had started to leak from the property.

Her son, who is an RAC patrolman, said: “My mother died in the most terrible circumstances you could imagine. We think she had been trying to escape for several hours. 

The former policewoman desperately clawed through brickwork and plaster in an effort to free herself 

“She broke off a pipe and used that to try to break through the walls, but as a result water sprayed down on her.

“Her body temperature was sky high because of the exertion, 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.

“But sadly, my mother gave up her attempt at 5.05pm so they assumed it had been maintenance workers who had finished for the day.”

Her family believe she took a swim in the pool at the complex before returning to her room, and after going to bed that evening, without unpacking.

But the keen sports enthusiast, who was also a former teacher, then woke in the middle of the night to use the en-suite bathroom.

On her way back to bed, her family believe 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, she then attempted to leave the cupboard but the door handle fell off, trapping her inside.

Her son said: “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.

“Telling my daughters was the worst possible conversation a father can have with his children, but thankfully they are incredibly resilient, even though they miss their grandmother terribly.

“My mum 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.”

 A spokesman for Macdonald Resorts said they were unable to comment at this stage.

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