The door of the hotel resort where a five-year-old from Merthyr Tydfil died after falling into a swimming pool could be opened ‘with a little finger’ even when locked, an pre-inquest hearing has heard.
Theo Treharne-Jones, from Merthyr Tydfil, died in hospital on 15 June this year at the Atlantica Holiday Village in Kos.
His parents were “woken to screams that a boy had been found in a pool”
His mother, Nina Treharne told a coroner’s court hearing on Wednesday their hotel door did not have a chain lock and even when the locking mechanism was engaged from the inside, could be opened by merely turning the handle.
“You could put your little finger on the handle [when it was locked] and get out”, Nina Treharne said.
Dad Richard Jones said: “You could turn the lock and hear it lock but when you pressed the handle it would open the door.”
Nina Treharne said the couple knew of another family of a young child staying in the resort at the same time who had used “a pram and a table” to block the doorway when they were inside.
Miss Treharne said she and her family had been in the same resort the year before, but on the latest occasion had been put in “more of an adult block”, which did not have chain locks on the inside of the room doors.
Mona Bayoumi, representing the holiday company TUI UK, said it was the company’s understanding that the locking mechanism on the family’s door was “common across hotels around the world”.
Miss Bayoumi said she believed the lack of a chain lock on the inside may be because of fire safety regulations. This was refuted by Theo’s mother Nina, on the basis that some rooms did have them.
Later, Miss Bayoumi said it was her understanding that chain locks were being “phased out” by the hotel. This, she said, could explain why some rooms had chain locks and others did not.
The assistant coroner, Nadim Bashir, told the pre-inquest hearing in the Pontypridd Coroner’s Court he would be exploring how Theo accessed the pool and what route he took, the type of doors and their locking mechanisms, the restrictions to the pool during quiet hours and whether there was CCTV or overwatch in the form of guards for the pool. He also said he wanted to explore whether the pool could have been covered.
The inquest will initially call on mother Nina Treharne, a family friend Adam Holmes who gave CPR to Theo after he was found, and a representative of TUI present at the hotel on the night in question, if one could be found.
TUI said they were looking to see if any British workers were at the hotel at the time of the tragedy and could give evidence.
Mona Bayoumi told the hearing: “As far as I’m aware there was no such rep as such.
“The hotel in which the family were residing in is not owned by TUI UK.”
The assistant coroner set a deadline of the 31st of October for further evidence but did not set a date for the inquest.