Tunisia inquests: Customer expected Thomson to flag up high risk of terrorism

Tunisia inquests: Customer expected Thomson to flag up high risk of terrorism

The wife of one of the Sousse massacre victims has told the inquests into the deaths she would have expected to have been made aware of the “high” risk of terrorism in Tunisia prior to booking their trip.

Cheryl Stollery, whose husband John, 58, was one of the 30 Britons shot by lone Islamic State gunman Seifeddine Rezgui, said she expects travel agents to make customers aware of “anything untoward”.

When asked about the booking process, she said she had been to Sousse before, including in February of 2015 – four months prior to the attack – and always found it safe.

But she said did not check the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s travel advice, which Tui is responsible for referring customers to prior to bookings.

Stollery said: “The relationship we had with the people selling the holidays was that they advised us.

“Whether we were dealing with Kuoni, Thomas Cook or Thomson – all well-known brands – I felt confident that if there was anything I needed to know that the information would be shared with me prior to booking the holiday, or departure.”

The coroner heard that Stollery paid the balance for the holiday at the Bureau de Change at Thomson’s Retford agency on a busy Saturday morning after a separate terrorist attack had taken place in Tunisia at the Bardo museum in Tunis which led to the death of 21 tourists including one Briton.

Stollery, who produced a travel wallet full of receipts and documents such as her insurance policy, added: “I booked by chit-chat. We rely on their professional advice and I felt confident that if I needed to be made aware of something they would have contacted me.

“I felt that, if there had been anything untoward, the people at the Thomson shop in Retford would have alerted me. I had no documents [advising her to check government travel advice] whatsoever and no verbal communication.”

When asked what she would have done had she been pointed in the direction of the Foreign Office advice – which warned of a “high” risk of terrorism – she said she would not have booked the holiday.

She added: “We would have still wanted to have gone on holiday but we would have most definitely changed the destination regardless of cost. Safety was more of an issue. We would never have booked anything that had put ourselves or [their son] Matthew at risk.”

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