“We miss you Alex,” staff at the five star Royalton Resort wrote next to the dummy they created using the couple’s clothing.
Stephens, who played for AFC Wembley, died in 2014 after falling off a balcony in Spain. His parents, Faye and Andrew Stephens, mark his birthday in Jamaica every year.
His godmother, Karen Baker, who was on holidays with the couple, had asked staff at the hotel to decorate their room with balloons and a cake for Stephens’ birthday. She had no idea how far the staff would take the tribute.
“When I walked into the bedroom, all I can describe is a dummy body on the bed,” Baker told the BBC. “Staff had gone through my friend’s wardrobe and stuffed the clothes with towels to make it look like a body on the bed. They even put tears down the face and a can of lager in his hand.”
Luckily, Baker saw the tribute before Stephens parents did, sparing them the trauma of walking in on such a macabre scene.
“I have truly never seen anything like it,” she commented on the ghastly scene. “I still look at the photographs now and can’t believe somebody thought to do that.”
Travel company TUI explained the controversial creation was a “misunderstanding,” and gave the couple a refund.
“We offer our sincere apologies to the Baker party for their holiday experience in Jamaica. We’re following up with the hotel and believe it was a misunderstanding with no intention to cause upset,” it said in a statement. “We would like to thank the Bakers for making us aware. We are in direct contact with the group to apologize and offer a gesture of goodwill.”
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