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Pensioner died on 300 mile taxi journey

Norma Francis
Norma Francis

An elderly holidaymaker died after being taken home on a 300-mile taxi journey while unwell.

Norma Francis, 79, was on a coach break in the Trossachs with her husband John, 81, when she developed the symptoms of gastric illness.

Staff at the Loch Achray Hotel in Callander arranged for the couple to be transported by taxi back to their home in Gnosall, Stafford, but on their arrival Mrs Francis could not be roused and later died.

Her family are questioning the decision to send the pensioner home while ill and have contacted lawyers.

Daughter Anne Francis said: "We're devastated that we have lost her and that her last days were so distressing. We just want to know why the decision to send her home was made and whether anything could have been done to prevent her death.

"I don't want anyone else being put in the same dreadful position as my mum was."

Mr and Mrs Francis, who booked the holiday through tour operator Lochs and Glens Holidays, arrived at their hotel on April 3 and she fell ill two days later.

Mr Francis said he was informed by the hotel manager that staff were arranging a taxi to take them on the 300-mile journey home, despite his concern for his wife's health.

The couple left the hotel on the afternoon of April 6 and Mrs Francis slept for much of the journey. An ambulance was called when it was realised she could not be woken and she died later that day at County Hospital in Stafford.

A post-mortem examination revealed she had contracted norovirus. An inquest into the mother-of-two's death is scheduled for October 13 at South Staffordshire Coroner's Court, lawyers representing the family said.

Clare Comiskey, a public health lawyer at Irwin Mitchell, said: "Norma and John booked their seven-day stay at Loch Achray Hotel to enjoy a relaxing break, never imagining it could have ended in such tragedy.

"Now Norma's family just want to know if anything could have been done differently to prevent her death, and whether there are any lessons to be learned which may prevent what happened to Norma happening to anyone else."

Neil Wells, managing director at Lochs and Glens, said: "We were deeply saddened when we learned that Mrs Francis had passed away.

"As this is still being investigated, it would be inappropriate for us to comment any further at this stage."