€18k for 'terrified' girls caught up in mock robbery
Two sisters, who fell victim to a mock robbery during a staff training exercise in a H&M store, have been awarded €18,000 damages between them in the Circuit Civil Court.
The court heard that in March 2013, Abbie (11) and Casie Kennedy (6) were at H&M in Dundrum Shopping Centre, Dublin with their mother Claudia McGrane when the "terrifying" incident happened.
The family were in one of the store's changing rooms when they heard someone shouting, "Everybody get down on the ground! Open the f***ing till! Get down on the ground, what are you looking at?"
The incident continued for several minutes while the family remained in the changing room. The sisters were terrified and in fear for their lives and that of their mother.
Ms McGrane, of Foxborough Road, Lucan, Co Dublin, waited until there was silence before opening the changing room door and looking out, but she saw nothing. The family remained in the changing room for several more minutes. The court heard they left the changing room when they heard people talking in the shop.
A manager told Ms McGrane that a person had been training staff in the event there was a robbery, and what they had heard had been a simulation.
Later that day, Ms McGrane called H&M's head office in England. The court heard a representative for the company apologised for the incident and offered a €30 voucher, which she refused.
Through their mother, Abbie and Casie sued H&M Hennes & Mauritz (Ireland) Ltd for personal injuries, claiming it had failed to ensure there were no customers in the changing area during the training course.
Judge Rory MacCabe heard the sisters had nightmares after the incident. He approved settlement offers made by H&M of €10,000 for Abbie and €8,000 for Casie.