A REDDITCH man who suffered ‘horrendous’ illness that ruined his dream holiday has been given £17,000 from tour operator Thomas Cook.

Paul Hughes says he has been left too worried to eat out in restaurants after falling ill with severe sickness and diarrhoea at the four-star Iberostar Daiquiri Hotel in Cuba, during a two-week trip with his wife in January 2011.

After being appalled at the hygiene conditions he faced at the hotel, which Iberostar describes as luxury, the 52-year-old instructed specialist travel lawyers at Irwin Mitchell.

The tour operator admitted liability for Paul’s illness shortly after the issuing of proceedings.

But Irwin Mitchell had to proceed to a trial on the level of compensation to be paid after Thomas Cook refused to agree a settlement which reflected the severity of Mr Hughes' condition.

This culminated in a trial in Birmingham in June where a judge agreed that the tour operator must pay more than £17,000 compensation.

Mr Hughes said: “Upon falling ill I suffered severe sickness and diarrhoea and extremely painful stomach cramps, it was horrendous.

“Three months after we came home, my symptoms still hadn’t gone so I saw my GP who provided me with advice as to how to deal with my symptoms.

"My bowel habits still haven’t returned to normal and it feels like I’ve been left with a permanent reminder of the awful trip. It has been very hard to get used to this.

“I used to eat out a lot with my family but tend not to anymore as I’m too worried about suffering anything similar to what I had to go through in Cuba.

He added: “Nothing can turn back the clock but I am relieved the legal battle is now over. I just hope that my case acts as a reminder to those in the travel industry about the importance of following good hygiene practices so no one else has to go through a similar ordeal.”

Clare Comiskey, from Irwin Mitchell, said: “It is disappointing that we had to issue court proceedings and then take Paul’s case all the way to trial in order to secure justice for him.

"This is particularly unfortunate given the ordeal he has already been through, but we hope that the settlement draws a line under this chapter of his life and allows him to begin to move forward.”