Bride trapped by rubble as hotel ceiling collapsed
Published 25/06/2010 | 05:00
A CEILING in a hotel collapsed just as a bride and groom were about to start their first dance, a court was told yesterday.
Bride Joanne Noone (33) is suing the hotel company for injuries she sustained, claiming that the most important day of her life had been ruined.
The High Court heard how groom Michael Noone realised the ceiling collapse was imminent, and tried to get his wife to safety.
But it was claimed that both were struck by falling timbers and debris before Ms Noone was trapped under a large post -- dazed, confused and convinced she was going to die.
Ms Noone, of Laragh, Maynooth, Co Kildare, is suing Connotes Ltd, trading as Setanta House Hotel, Clane Road, Celbridge, Kildare, for injuries sustained at her wedding reception on September 26, 2003.
Ms Noone claimed the hotel was negligent in failing to ensure the premises was safe or maintained in a proper way.
She also claimed that the defendant allowed the room to be used when it should have known that it was a danger and a hazard.
Liability in the action has been conceded and the case is being heard before Mr Justice Iarfhlaith O'Neill for assessment of damages only.
Opening the case, Brendan Watchorn, for Ms Noone said shortly after the wedding meal, the newlyweds were getting ready for their first dance.
Then they heard a loud cracking sound from the ceiling as it collapsed and the room was plunged into darkness and dust.
After Ms Noone was freed, and assisted from the room by her husband, she was taken to Naas Hospital, where she was diagnosed as having soft tissue injury and pains in her neck, back and leg.
The court also heard that she exhibited signs of post-traumatic stress, had flashbacks and has difficulty sleeping.
While she had made a good recovery from her physical injuries, Ms Noone claimed she would not make a full recovery from the trauma.
Both she and her husband were gravely upset and distressed by the incident, and were referred for counselling.
Ms Noone said that nobody from the hotel contacted her the day after the incident.
"They just made the situation worse . . . Nothing was done in a professional manner . . . They basically just washed their hands of us," she said.
She had to take three weeks off work, and said that it was about six months before she could get involved in sports again. She said that she did not have the same trust in buildings and was always aware of where fire exits were located.
The case resumes next week.