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Husband seeks council apology for public toilet ordeal

Norma Webster was found unconscious in a locked public toilet (PA/Police Scotland)
Norma Webster was found unconscious in a locked public toilet (PA/Police Scotland)

A HUSBAND whose 78-year-old wife was locked in a public loo for 21 hours is demanding a face-to-face meeting with council chiefs.

Norma Webster lay unconscious after suffering a stroke and was only discovered when cleaners opened up the council-run locked public convenience the next day.

A large-scale search using police sniffer dogs and a helicopter failed to find the frail pensioner after she went missing going to buy her Sunday Post at a Co-op store in Forres, Morayshire.

Mrs Webster’s husband James, 84, said he was “angry and disgusted” when he discovered the toilet was not manned full-time by council staff – but by volunteers from Co-op.

Furious Mr Webster said: “I thought it was the responsibility of the council, not volunteers.

“When I found out I could hardly believe it.

“I want to meet them. I want a personal apology and I want to make sure it will never happen to anyone again”.

Norma’s ordeal began when she left their house in Drumduan Road, Forres, to go to the shop in the High Street on July 31.

As she was leaving the shop around 10.30am she felt unwell and went to the public toilets behind the store.

Norma, who still cannot speak after her stroke, fell unconscious and was not discovered until the Monday morning.

James, who worked in the cargo section at Heathrow Airport before retiring to Forres 20 years ago, is demanding to know why the loos were not checked.

Moray Council has moved quickly by introducing a six-point checklist for council staff and volunteers when locking and unlocking the toilets.

A spokesman said the move would prevent others being put through the same ordeal.

Stephen Cooper, the council’s head of direct services wrote to Norma, wishing her a “speedy recovery”.

He said: “I would be happy for either myself or another officer from the council to meet you, or members of your family, to apologise in person and to explain the circumstances, as far as we understand them, which led to your terrible ordeal.”

Meanwhile, James is looking after his wife at their home.

He said: “She’s coming along but still cannot speak.

“It’s difficult, but we have carers coming in the morning and at night to get her dressed and undressed.”


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