Wednesday 28 September 2016

Hotel sued for £1 million after death of woman scalded by shower

Damages sought after tragedy

Press Association

Published 13/11/2015 | 11:29

Premier Inn, Newcraighall, Edinburgh. Photo: Google Street View
Premier Inn, Newcraighall, Edinburgh. Photo: Google Street View

Relatives of a holidaymaker who died after being scalded in a hotel shower are seeking damages in excess of £1 million.

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Tourist Kalyani Uthaman, 59, from India, was on holiday in Scotland in August 2012 when she was scalded at the Premier Inn at Newcraighall, Edinburgh.

She reportedly died of multiple organ failure six weeks after the incident.

Her family has now lodged a legal action at Scotland's highest civil court, the Court of Session in Edinburgh, where they are seeking more than £1 million (€1.4 million) from the hotel chain's operators.

Mrs Uthaman's son, 44-year-old Sundar Vadivel Uthaman, said it has been a very difficult time for the family.

Mr Uthaman, from Bangalore, told BBC Scotland:

"It is an irreparable loss given the love and affection she had for us and we had for her. It was something none of us expected would ever happen in a very safe country like the UK."

Confirming the legal action, Glen Millar, of Thompsons Solicitors, said:

''As instructed by the Uthaman family, a summons has been served on Whitbread plc as operators of Premier Inn seeking damages in excess of £1 million arising from the tragic loss of their mother, grandmother and sister Kalyani.

"The Court of Session has ordered that the case call for the first time on November 20, after which a comprehensive timetable will be issued."

He said the family regard the scheduled hearing as a "significant milestone".

He added: "An expression of condolence issued after service of the summons is the first communication from Whitbread to that effect and their first communication at all on the case for over two years."

A spokeswoman for Premier Inn said:

"This is a very sad incident. Our thoughts are with the family of Ms Uthaman during what must have been, and which must remain, an extremely difficult period for them.

"We have worked closely with and supported the relevant authorities with their inquiries around this case."

Mr Millar has argued that a fatal accident inquiry (FAI) should have been held into the death. The Crown said such a move was not in the public interest.

"The family also view the proceedings as a means by which further deaths in similar tragic circumstances might be avoided," the solicitor said.

"In my view, a fatal accident inquiry should have been convened by the Crown for that precise purpose."

A Crown Office spokesman said:

"The family of Kalyani Uthaman were informed, in January 2014, of the decision not to hold a fatal accident inquiry.

"The incident was fully investigated by police, the council and health and safety experts and while this is a tragic case, independent Crown counsel agree that there would be no focus for a discretionary FAI and no recommendations for a sheriff to make.

"To hold such an inquiry would not be in the public interest."

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