Parents helpless as boy (2) plunged 30 feet in car park
A two-year-old child plummeted 30 feet down a shaft in a multi-storey car park and was trapped for 40 minutes as his helpless parents tried to comfort him, a court heard yesterday.
Barrister Patrick Purcell told the Circuit Civil Court that Mr and Mrs Stephen Boyce, the parents of little Ben Boyce, were able to hear their son after he fell down the shaft from the second floor of the car park, but could not see him.
Mr Purcell said the circumstances of the accident on February 2, 2009, were quite unusual.
Ben had been with his parents shopping in Drogheda, Co Louth, and all three had returned to the Scotch Hall Shopping Centre car park on Marsh Road.
While the couple was packing their shopping into their car, little Ben had stepped backwards and had fallen through an opening in casing surrounding one of the support columns on the second floor of the car park.
"He plummeted 25 to 30 feet down through the cavity around the column and was trapped for upwards of 40 minutes," Mr Purcell said.
He told Circuit Court president, Mr Justice Matthew Deery, that Ben's parents, who live at Boyne Lodge, Slane Road, Drogheda, Co Louth, could not see him but could hear him and were able to talk to him while he remained trapped.
He said firemen were immediately called and were able to break a hole in the column casing at ground-floor level and rescue Ben.
Mr Purcell said Ben, who was only two months short of his third birthday at the time, suffered damage to his teeth but his primary injuries related to the anxiety he had to endure until his rescue. Ben did not attend court.
While Ben, now aged five, had made a good recovery, he was still very nervous and still suffered from anxiety. He did not like being left on his own in a room, the court heard.
Ben sued John Sisk and Son Ltd, the international construction company which has its headquarters in Dublin, through his father, Stephen, who is a member of An Garda Siochana.
Mr Purcell said the Personal Injuries Assessment Board had assessed damages at €16,500 with €1,355 expenses but he was not recommending approval of the figure to the court.
Mr Justice Deery rejected the assessment and said he would adjourn the matter for assessment by the court.