An Inverness mum is suing Thomas Cook after her daughter was abducted from a hotel kids club in Turkey.
Janet Alexander, 46, spoke about her legal action following the terrifying ordeal at the Royal Wings Hotel in Antalya.
The single mum left five-year-old Rose at the resort’s supervised play area so she could take her eldest daughter Lois, aged nine, to a scuba diving lesson.
But when Janet returned around an hour later Rose was missing – and hotel staff didn’t even know she was gone.
The disappearance sparked a frantic search which ended after another guest spotted the blonde youngster walking with a woman in a hijab near the main road.
Janet said: “This has been the most traumatic experience of my life.
“I thought my daughter was either dead or faced being trafficked and abused.
“People need to realise these staff-led play groups aren’t the safe places we believe them to be.
“I’ll never trust Thomas Cook again.”
The nightmare holiday in April this year was the first ever trip abroad for Janet and her daughters.
The family were three days into a week-long break when the abduction happened.
It is thought Rose was taken just minutes after being dropped off at the play area.
The youngster and hijab-wearing woman were brought back to the hotel by the guest who spotted them.
Rose told her mum and staff she thought her abductor was a staff member as she was already inside the play area.
The primary one pupil was then invited to “go for a walk” and thought it was okay as she remembered going for outside walks at pre-school.
Janet then described seeing staff turn to the mystery woman and speak to her in Turkish.
But when staff failed to answer any questions Janet took her two daughters to the local police station.
With the help of an on-duty interpreter cops said they could not look into the matter as Rose had not been physically harmed and was safely returned.
The incident was then reported to Thomas Cook’s hotel rep but the tour operator still hasn’t responded after nearly two months.
Janet, a senior charge nurse with NHS Highland, remains shaken by the ordeal and has not been able to return to work due to suffering from extreme anxiety and post-traumatic stress.
She said: “No matter how much I process things it just leaves me in pieces.
“I’ve been shaking and in tears ever since it happened – I even struggle to leave the kids at school now.
“My work, neighbours, family and friends have all been really supportive.
“Even though they couldn’t do anything, the Turkish police were kind and sympathetic.
“But Thomas Cook have been a disgrace – they haven’t apologised and have actually gone to great lengths to ignore me.
“What happened has changed our whole way of living and without even apology it’s like I can’t get closure and don’t know how to heal.”
Janet has now launched a civil claim and hopes the outcome will lead to improved safety standards.
Simon Richards, associate with the foreign and travel department at Digby Brown Solicitors, is pursuing the legal case – which could be worth a five-figure sum.
He said: “Janet and her loved ones understandably feel traumatised by this incident.
“Thankfully Rose was safely reunited with her family but her abduction had a very serious and lasting detrimental impact.
“The Royal Wings Hotel breached its contractual duties by failing to look after children in its play area but Thomas Cook are ultimately responsible as it is the company who sold the holiday.
A spokesman for Thomas Cook said: “We were very concerned to hear of this incident and we understand how distressing it must have been.
“We are investigating thoroughly with the hotel to understand what happened and we will work with the hotel to make any required changes so that this can’t happen again.”