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Published on Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Thomas Cook quizzed on hotel hygiene after death of three-year-old

A coroner has asked Thomas Cook's lawyers to file hygiene reports for a hotel in Turkey where a three-year-old British girl died while on holiday last year.

Lily Gibson from Halfway near Sheffield fell ill while staying at the four-star Bodrum Holiday Resort in Mugla with her family.

When she started suffering from jaundice, her parents took her to a local walk-in pharmacy where she was given painkillers, but she later died in the hotel on August 25.

Speaking at the inquest in Sheffield, lawyers for the family said they want to find out whether she could have contracted a bacterial infection such as E.coli, shigella or salmonella.

They also want Thomas Cook to answer questions about hygiene at the family resort. Her father Chris told the Coroner's court: "We just want to know what's happened".

Friends and family have raised more than £4,000 for the Gibsons on a GoFundMe page.

Assistant coroner Professor Robert Forrest told how establishing the cause of Lily's death would be crucial in determining how she fell ill.

Reading a document from the family solicitor, Stephen Ireland, Prof Forrest said there had been a reported anecdotal increase in illnesses at the hotel around the time of the Gibson's holiday.

The coroner asked lawyers for Thomas Cook to file audit reports of cleanliness and food safety at the hotel ahead of a full inquest later this year. The hotel had a food safety score of 54%, the inquest heard.

Prof Forrest said: "The evidence of poor food safety at the hotel and the possibility that Lily died as a consequence of a food-related illness provides justification for additional enquiries of Thomas Cook and the disclosure of both food safety audits and the additional report outlining areas of improvement.

"The important thing is to try and find out what the cause of death was and everything else hinges on that."

He said he wants to gather a post-mortem report from the mortuary in Turkey, a police report and a clinical care report before continuing a full inquest.

A full inquest date is yet to be set but the next pre-inquest hearing will take place on July 1.

In a statement, Thomas Cook said: "Our deepest condolences are with the family after the heartbreaking death of their daughter on holiday last year.

"We have provided the Coroner with all the information we have been able to gather from the hotel and healthcare facilities.

"The cause of death remains unclear. We continue to support the Coroner and the family in any way we can and await the outcome of the inquest."

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