Derek Draper trapped in disabled passport scanner at Heathrow 'for an hour'
Derek Draper was trapped for around an hour in a passport scanner specifically made for wheelchair users.
The former political advisor, 56, is married to Good Morning Britain presenter Kate Garraway, also 56, and the pair share two children.
In 2020, Derek contracted Covid-19 and suffered serious complications, spending months in hospital and now, years later, still requiring full-time care.
Derek now uses a wheelchair and has very little strength in his arms, and the complications has also affected his cognition and speech.
It meant that Derek used new disabled passport scanners – created specifically to allow wheelchair users to go through the self-scanners – he was locked in and trapped for an hour.
Kate explained the situation on Wednesday’s Good Morning Britain, where guest Martin Hibbert was speaking about his life in a wheelchair since being involved in the Manchester Arena bombing, having completed Kilimanjaro and taking campaigns to Westminster.
She noted that disability is a large spectrum, and said Derek ‘hasn’t got the cognition’ Martin has, leading to a nightmare situation at Heathrow.
The couple were travelling back from the United States, where Derek had been for treatment, and the airport was celebrating its ‘achievement’ of getting in a new passport scanner for wheelchair users, as previously they would not have been wide enough to allow them in.
‘Heathrow was celebrating, they put in a new wheelchair-width … passport scanner,’ she explained.
‘Before then you couldn’t get a wheelchair through. They put one in at vast expense, but when it came to do it with Derek – disability has a wide range, he hasn’t got the cognition you’ve got or the strength you’ve got in your upper body – we realised we couldn’t get him into the country.
‘He went forward, the door locked, but the disabled person has to free it and you’re not allowed, because of the border, to do it yourself. So he was stuck in no man’s land, literally between two borders, for an hour or so.
‘So even when conscious effort has been made to make things work, and I wonder if it’s because there aren’t enough disabled people talking about it.’
Kate regularly speaks on life as a carer for her husband and how he is progressing health-wise, and has released two documentaries on the subject: Finding Derek and Carng for Derek.
It was recently reported Kate had been hit with an eye-watering £716,000 tax bill after being forced to shut down her husband’s business when he was first hospitalised with the virus three years ago.
Good Morning Britain airs weekdays from 6am on ITV.
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