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Parents recall horror as toddler fell four floors

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Andrea Gazsiova

Andrea Gazsiova

The Tolka Vale apartments in Finglas where Andrea fell to her death. Photo: Garrett White

The Tolka Vale apartments in Finglas where Andrea fell to her death. Photo: Garrett White

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Andrea Gazsiova

The parents of a toddler who fell from a fourth floor apartment window spoke of their horror when they woke up to find her missing.

Andrea Gazsiova, just 21-months old, died from severe head injuries after falling from a bedroom window at the Tolka Vale Apartments in Finglas, Dublin 11, on September 1 last year.

Dublin Coroner's Court heard the window she fell from had a faulty handle and could not be closed fully.

Coroner Dr Brian Farrell, returned a verdict of misadventure, identifying the broken handle as a risk factor.

He said this was "at least" the fourth inquest he had heard in recent years where a child had fallen from a window in a high-rise building and he would raise protections on windows with the local authority.

Baby Andrea had been sleeping with her parents in the main bedroom but got up while they slept and went to the next room, where she is believed to have climbed on to the window sill and fallen.

Her father, Ondrej Gazsi, told how he woke up and went to the bathroom at 8.40am as the girl's mother, Monica Godlova, slept.

"I took Andrea to bed and she made me cuddle and play. I then went back to sleep, but I don't know how," he said.

When the Slovakian couple woke up, they realised Andrea was not in the bed. Ms Godlova realised that the window in their daughter's room was open "a little bit".

"I looked out and down and could see Andrea on the ground. I started roaring for Ondrej," she said.

The couple rushed Andrea by taxi to the emergency department at the Mater Hospital. She was later pronounced dead.

Dr Farrell said medical reports indicate she had suffered "catastrophic" head injuries.

Ms Godlova said the window in the bedroom was always broken and they had told the landlady through her mother, who has good English. "The landlord would promise but do nothing," she said,

Structural engineer Cathal Kelly confirmed the window was faulty and could not close properly or lock. The windows were compliant with regulations when the apartment block was built in 1998. But he said safety restrictor regulations were introduced in 2006 and would have "prevented this tragedy" but there was no "onus on building owners or landlords" to fit them.

Irish Independent