The family of a care worker, killed during a terrorist shooting in Tunisia, have begun legal proceedings against holiday operator TUI.
They are among more than 80 people connected with the tragedy to have instructed specialist international personal injury lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to act on their behalf in a civil case.
Care home worker Ms Jones, 51, from Blackwood, was killed on June 26, 2015, when gunman Seifiddine Rezgui opened fire on a beach in the resort of Port El Kantaoui, around 10km north of the city of Sousse, killing 38 people.
Ms Jones was among 30 Britons who were killed during the attack. The mother-of-four and grandmother had been holidaying with friends and had been due to return home a few days after the attack.
Irwin Mitchell is representing the families of 22 people who died in the attack as well as more than 50 people who suffered injuries including gunshot wounds and people hit by shrapnel from explosions at the Imperial Marhaba Hotel.
Others sustained injuries such as ruptured tendons and leg and feet injuries while fleeing the attacker. Many are still suffering from psychological injuries after witnessing the horrific attack, with some having comforted family members fatally wounded.
The legal case centres on security at the hotel; what was known about previous attacks in Tunisia and the lack of information presented to customers both at the time of booking and when the situation may have changed regarding travel advice.
Irwin Mitchell will argue that many of the families affected were unaware of the Foreign and Commonwealth (FCO) travel advice that there was a “high threat from terrorism” in Tunisia. The firm also claims that neither TUI’s 2015 written brochure or their 2015 website stated the FCO travel advice.
A seven-week inquest last year into the deaths of 30 Britons who died in the attack heard how security guards employed at the hotel were poorly trained, ineffective and unable to communicate with each other. There was limited CCTV coverage, much less than at other nearby hotels and a number of other security measures were inadequate – including gates and perimeter fences; and no protocol in place to be followed in the event of a terrorist attack.
Kylie Hutchison, a specialist international personal injury lawyer at Irwin Mitchell representing the families affected, said: “The level of terrorist threat in Tunisia had been escalating for some time prior to June 2015. This included a failed suicide bomb attempt outside a beach hotel in Sousse in October 2013 and an attack at the Bardo museum in Tunis in March 2015 in which 22 people were killed.
“Despite this, TUI, the tour operator who organised the holidays and was responsible for our clients’ safety, did not audit the adequacy of security at the hotel or take appropriate precautions to keep our clients safe from an attack.
“Nor did they inform our clients of the level of threat of terrorism which many of the holidaymakers say would have changed their mind about holidaying in Tunisia at the time.”
A spokesperson for TUI UK said: “Our thoughts remain with all of those who were affected by the horrific incident.
“As this is now subject to legal proceedings it would be inappropriate to comment further at this stage except to say we will fully cooperate with the judicial process.”