Saturday 3 December 2016

Woman stuck in lift for four and a half minutes gets €25,000

Tim Healy

Published 08/10/2016 | 02:30

'Ms Dicker said she pressed the alarm bell but nobody responded on the intercom. She banged on the door and shouted but no one appeared to hear her' (stock photo)
'Ms Dicker said she pressed the alarm bell but nobody responded on the intercom. She banged on the door and shouted but no one appeared to hear her' (stock photo)

A woman who was trapped in a shopping centre lift for just over four and-a-half minutes has been awarded €25,060 by the High Court.

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Mother-of-three Marie Dicker (54), a department store supervisor, suffered a direct psychiatric injury as a result of the incident, which led to the resurfacing of childhood claustrophobia she had suffered from, Mr Justice Anthony Barr said.

She sued the Square Management Ltd and Pickerings Lifts Ltd over the incident at the Square shopping centre, Tallaght, Dublin, on August 31, 2012.

Ms Dicker, of Cherryfield Road, Walkinstown, Dublin, told the court she felt like she had been trapped for 20 minutes. CCTV inside the lift showed she was there for four minutes and 35 seconds.

The court heard she was out shopping with her young son when they got into the lift to go down to the ground floor.

When it stopped after moving a short distance, she pushed the button to open the doors but they remained closed.

Ms Dicker said she pressed the alarm bell but nobody responded on the intercom.

She banged on the door and shouted but no one appeared to hear her.

She rang her husband, who suggested she ring 999. While doing so, a member of the centre security staff managed to open the doors and she and her son got out.

Ms Dicker said she was given lunch vouchers to use in the centre and told she would be contacted but said she was not.

She was upset and distressed partly due to the fact that she had, as a child, suffered from claustrophobia. Subsequently, she could not go into fitting rooms in shops as she could not bear to have the door closed.

In public toilets, she had to prop her handbag against the door, rather than lock it, for fear it would not open again.

She was treated by a psychologist who found she still suffered from anxiety, claustrophobia and panic attacks.

A psychiatrist for the defendants told the court he did not find symptoms of anxiety when he saw her.

Mr Justice Barr said he was satisfied that she suffered a psychiatric injury as a result of being trapped.

Irish Independent

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