Widow seeks justice

THE widow of an Ottery man who died on a jeep excursion in Turkey is fighting to get the tour operator held accountable.

Siriol Roe, 45, of Claremont Field, lost her husband Perry on holiday in the resort of Sakilkent in August 2006.

The open top jeep they were travelling in, with their two children, now 19 and 14, and another family, overturned, killing Perry and seriously injuring Siriol and the children.

In September this year, the driver was given a four-year prison sentence for causing death and injury by negligence.

Mrs Roe is “completely convinced” Focus Tours Tourism and Travel Agency, which owned and operated the safari jeeps, should also be held liable and has lodged an appeal with the Turkish courts.

She said: “Nothing is going to bring Perry back, but I want to prevent this happening to anyone else.”

The couple booked the trip on the recommendation of a fellow tourist. The publicity leaflets advertised that the company was fully insured, and they thought travelling in convoy with guides was a safe option.

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“We started on good roads and the driver seemed sensible,” said Mrs Roe.

Things changed after a stop at a Turkish carpet factory. “We got back into the jeep and suddenly we had another driver,” said Mrs Roe, who later found out he was a mechanic. “He was a different style of driver, I said “My God, we’ve got a rally driver here”.”

She remembers violent swerving and trees overhead, then waking up in hospital. The driver had tried to overtake another jeep, lost control and swerved off the road. Mrs Roe was knocked unconscious, everyone else was thrown clear. Mr Roe died at the scene.

Mrs Roe spent 10 nights in hospital, with multiple fractures and a ruptured spleen. Her children had been taken to another hospital.

“I didn’t know who I was, let alone I’d been in an accident or had a husband or children,” she said. “It took a long time to sink in, because I never saw Perry again.”

The family came back to England on August 24, the funeral was held at Ottery parish church that week, days from their wedding anniversary.

Mr and Mrs Roe had moved to Ottery when he got a job at the Met Office.

She said: “I’m Welsh, Perry’s family are from Cumbria. I was a widow at 41, with no family support down here. But there was no point in moving, the kids had their friends and school here.”

Her parents lived with her for three months and the Met office arranged personal training.

She said: “I’m not sure I would’ve woken up in the mornings without the children. I want to give them the opportunities Perry wanted them to have.”