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Primrose Grainger wins County Court case against Grand Burstin Hotel, Folkestone

A widow who chased two burglars from her hotel room after they grabbed £12,000 of jewels from her bedside table has won thousands in damages for her ordeal.

Primrose Grainger, 77, lost a lifetime’s collection of gems and other treasures given to her by her husband – who had died just three months previously – when two thieves crept into her room at Folkestone’s Grand Burstin Hotel in July 2013.

She and her daughter were asleep when the raiders arrived in the early hours, Central London County Court heard.

Folkestone’s Grand Burstin Hotel
Folkestone’s Grand Burstin Hotel

They were staying in the 500-room hotel as part of a family celebration. The grandmother told how she woke to see one of the prowlers looming over her.

She assumed he was a member of hotel staff investigating an emergency, until he “swept up her jewels” and ran from the room.

Mrs Grainger and her daughter chased after him and his accomplice but they escaped.

She sued Britannia Hotels Ltd for failing to safeguard her from the risk of theft.

Ruling in her favour, Judge Peter Wulwik, said she was entitled to £12,781 in damages.

"She was entitled to believe her jewellery would be safe" - judge Peter Wulwik

The thieves had probably obtained a key from somewhere and used it to gain entry, he said.

Judge Wulwik said although there was a safe deposit box behind reception, Mrs Grainger was under no obligation to use it, adding: “She had no reason to know that the hotel had been subject to a spate of thefts where thieves had gained entry using a key.

"She was entitled to believe her jewellery would be safe.”

The thefts might have been prevented had the hotel “upgraded” to using key cards.

The court heard Mrs Grainger was left “profoundly shocked” but the judge declined to award compensation for psychiatric injuries as they were not “foreseeable” by the hotel.

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