Holiday shooting - travel firm sued
THE north Suffolk woman who was shot and seriously injured in Barbados is suing the holiday company who took her to the Caribbean island.Paula Martin, of Reydon, near Southwold, and her husband John are claiming damages against Airtours Holidays Ltd and Airtours Plc following the incident in October 1998.
By David Lennard
THE north Suffolk woman who was shot and seriously injured in Barbados is suing the holiday company who took her to the Caribbean island.
Paula Martin, of Reydon, near Southwold, and her husband John are claiming damages against Airtours Holidays Ltd and Airtours Plc following the incident in October 1998.
Mrs Martin, who was known as Paula Bridges at the time of the incident, and Mr Martin had been enjoying a drink at the Palm Garden Hotel in Barbados when a crazed gunman burst in and attempted to rob both staff and customers.
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It was while the gunman was trying to steal jewellery from Mrs Martin that he shot her through the heart.
The injuries were so serious that doctors in Barbados feared for Mrs Martin's life.
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The then 41-year-old amazed doctors with her recovery and was later flown back to this country in an air ambulance.
After spending many weeks in the James Paget Hospital at Gorleston, Mrs Martin was eventually allowed home to Reydon.
However, the gunshot wounds have left her with serious health problems.
Throughout her ordeal John Martin was at her side and he played a major part in her recovery.
Solicitors acting for Mr and Mrs Martin have issued a writ in the High Court claiming damages in excess of £50,000 against Airtours Holidays Ltd and Airtours Plc.
The writ claims damages for "personal injuries" suffered by Mr and Mrs Martin.
It claims they were "caused by the negligence and breach of contract on the part of the Defendants, its servants or agents, and pursuant to the provisions of the Package Travel, Package Holidays and Package Tours Regulations 1992".
Mr and Mrs Martin have declined to comment on the matter.
A spokeswoman for Airtours said the company had been expecting this matter to reach the High Court.
"This is not an unexpected move but because it is now in the hands of our legal department I cannot comment on this case," she said.
The writ is likely to be amended because although Airtours Holidays Limited still exists, Airtours PLC has been renamed MyTravel PLC.
A year after the shooting the Reydon couple were able to return to Barbados to get married.
At the time Mr Martin admitted it was not easy returning to the scene of their horrific ordeal but said it was something "we have to do".
Later that year Mrs Martin faced the man accused of shooting her in a Barbados court.
Mrs Martin, who is registered blind and suffers from memory loss as a result of the shooting, testified against Darrie Jackson of Chapman Lane in the city of Barbados.
Jackson was found guilty of inflicting serious bodily harm on Mrs Martin while armed with a gun, and of robbing her partner John Martin of a wallet.
He was also found guilty of robbing a waitress at the hotel and her boyfriend.
Jackson was jailed for a total of 15 years.