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Model tells court petrol sales assistant 'unexpectedly smashed her car window after taking photos of her'


Trudy Higgins was awarded €9,000 damages following a Circuit Civil Court

Trudy Higgins was awarded €9,000 damages following a Circuit Civil Court

Trudy Higgins was awarded €9,000 damages following a Circuit Civil Court

A 26-year-old model has told the Circuit Civil Court that she suffered cuts to her face and body after a petrol station sales assistant unexpectedly smashed the driver’s window of her car.

Trudy Higgins told the court that in May 2011, she had purchased some petrol for her car at Castle Service Station, Butterly Business Park, Artane, Dublin, when she noticed a male staff member coming towards her and taking photographs of her.

Higgins told her barrister, Peter Maguire, that she went into her car, sat on the driver’s seat and closed the door, with the intention of calling her father for assistance in order to prevent an invasion of her privacy.

Judge Francis Comerford heard that the staff member suddenly approached her car and had smashed the driver’s window with his closed fist.

Higgins, of St Alphonsus Road, Drumcondra, Dublin, claimed the glass shattered and collapsed and struck her with force, cutting her face, neck and back.

She had been bleeding and in severe shock and pain and she had been taken from the scene to the Emergency Department of Beaumont Hospital in Dublin where her cuts were cleaned and dressed. Sutures had been applied to her neck wounds.

She had suffered neck and back pain following the incident and a wound on her back, above her right shoulder, had left a four millimetre scar.

She sued Chopard International Ltd, which trades as Castle Service Station, for negligence and trespass. 

Barrister Philip Fennell, for the petrol station which denied liability, said it was stated in a full defence that Ms Higgins had got into her car without paying for the petrol and had raised the driver’s window, trapping the staff member’s hand.

The petrol station alleged in its defence that Higgins had then driven her car off the forecourt, forcing the staff member to run alongside. He had broken the window to release his hand. It denied photographs had been taken. 

Judge Comerford, said the petrol station had no CCTV evidence to sustain their allegations and the staff member had refused to come to court.

He said it was common case the employee caused the glass to break and strike Ms Higgins. Awarding her €9,000 damages he said she did not have a distinctive scar.