Raped on Holiday: Dr Georgina Mortimer tells how she was brutally raped in a villa … story in THE SUN ON SUNDAY…
Georgina was raped by a man who broke into her ‘safe all-women’ villa.
Now mum of two to sue Royal Yachting Association and Girls for Sail claiming they were negligent because they did not ensure the ‘all female’ villa was safe – and she was insulted by the offer of a mini manicure and massage to ‘cheer her up.’
When Georgina Mortimer booked at exclusive holiday on the beautiful island of St Lucia, she thought it would be the perfect trip.
As well as learning to sail, the mother of two was booked into the nearby villa, which she expected would be safe and secure.
But on the second night of her holiday she went through every woman’s nightmare.
After going to sleep, she woke to find a man on top of her. As he pinned her to the bed, raping her, she thought she was going to die.
He was only disturbed when someone on hearing a noise coming from her room, knocked on the door and her attacker fled…
The British doctor had booked the ‘dream holiday’ to St Lucia with with Girls for Sail, a company accredited by the Royal Yacht Association, but she was attacked in the bedroom of her shared villa within hours of arriving.
Now, in a potential landmark case, the 45-year-old is taking action against the holiday company and villa owner for negligence paving the way for other tourists to sue private property renters.
Georgina, bravely waived her right to anonymity to speak to the Sun on Sunday, and said: “I woke up to find myself being strangled and raped by this total stranger. I was terrified. I honestly thought I was going to die.
“I’d gone on a women only holiday to learn to sail believing I would be safe.
“I am devastated by what happened and I am going to do what I can to stop any other woman going through this.
“I am shocked a company, which claims to empower women by helping them learn to sail without men has treated a rape victim so badly. My life has been turned upside down. I have horrendous flashbacks and feel traumatised.”
On their website Girls for Sail say they are the ‘only sailing school for ladies’ and they ‘take care of each other and maintain a safe environment’.
It was on the second night of 45-year-old Georgina’s £2,000 Girls for Sail holiday in February 2016 that her nightmare began.
She was staying in one of the four bedrooms at Summer Breeze villa, a RYA accredited sailing training centre, in the hills above Rodney Bay Marina.
Georgina said: “I was not given a key for my bedroom door but two instructors were also staying there and I understood the front door would be locked each night.
“But I woke to find a monster pinning me down in my bed attacking me, I thought I was going to be murdered.
“The hand on my throat pressed down so hard I thought I was going to pass out. I could hardly breathe let alone scream.
“I thought of my children and was determined not to die. I lay as quiet as possible because I felt any struggling on my part could anger him enough to kill me.
“It was around fifteen minutes of hell before someone knocked at the door and my attacker fled.”
The police were called and Georgina went to hospital to be treated for possible sexually transmitted diseases, HIV, bruising and shock.
One of her best friends had planned to join her that day for the remainder of the holiday but was ‘horrified’ when she saw Georgina.
Fighting back tears Georgina said: “Girls for Sail even advised me not to tell other women arriving alone what had happened in case it upset them.
“I was in shock. Looking back I should have said something. There was no sign of a break in, it appears he walked straight into the villa but I was made to feel as though I’d done something wrong.
“I couldn’t stay in the villa but they said they’d pay for us to stay in a hotel for one night, but not two.
“I was traumatised, I couldn’t cope being there. Nobody had bothered to contact the British Consulate for me so I did that myself and they organised an emergency flight home for me.”
Back in Hertfordshire the Accident and Emergency doctor was also horrified to discover there had been a number of similar sexual assaults and rapes in St Lucia – including an attempted rape in a house a few miles away from her villa – but says there were no warnings issued to take additional care.
She said: “I started to get angry. I had gone on a women only holiday, you have an expectation of safety.
“Because of the other incidents they should surely have upped security therefore the villa should have had CCTV and a security guard on duty. They should have at least had self locking doors and told us to be vigilent.”
Letters of complaint were sent to the company and Georgina expected a refund – instead three weeks later she received a marketing newsletter.
She said: “I complained again. This time I got an email saying they were offering me a massage and manicure at my local beauty salon.
“They’d described it as a little ‘treat’ for me and hoped I found it ‘enjoyable’. As if that would cheer me up. I had been raped under their guard. I was disgusted, insulted.”
Now she has employed lawyers to sue both organisations for negligence, claiming Girls for Sail also failed to report the attack to the RYA.
Her solicitor Vidisha Joshi, Partner and Head of Personal Injury, Hodge, Jones and Allen Solicitors in London, said: “This is a professional woman who was attacked in her own bed whilst away on holiday. Tour operators, hotel owners and others in the holiday business have a duty of care to protect their customers.”
A spokesperson for the Royal Yachting Association later said: “The incident did not take place during an RYA accredited training course and the RYA had no involvement in the ownership or provision of the holiday accommodation in which the incident took place.”
Annie O Sullivan, of Summer Breeze Villas St Lucia, who runs Girls for Sail said: “We have been a Trip Advisor recommended 4.5 star villa since 2012 and strenuously dispute the claims made by Ms Mortimer. Due to the claims made and on the advice of our attourneys we are unable to make any further comment at this time.”
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