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Tot trapped after 30ft fall down shaft in car park

A two-year-old child plummeted 30ft 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.

Barrister Patrick Purcell told the Circuit Civil Court that the parents of 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.

Ben had been shopping with his mother and father Stephen when they returned to the Scotch Hall Shopping Centre car park in Marsh Road, Drogheda, on February 2, 2009.

As the couple packed their shopping into the car, Ben stepped backwards and fell through an opening in casing surrounding one of the car park's support columns.

"He plummeted 25 to 30ft down through the cavity around the column and was trapped for upwards of 40 minutes," Mr Purcell said.

The court heard that Ben's parents, of Boyne Lodge, Slane Road, Drogheda, were able to talk to him while he remained trapped. Firemen broke a hole in the column casing at ground floor level to rescue Ben.

Mr Purcell said Ben, who was only two months short of his third birthday at the time, suffered damage to his teeth and still suffered from anxiety.

Ben sued construction company John Sisk and Son Ltd, through his father, Stephen, who is a garda.

Mr Purcell said the Personal Injuries Assessment Board had assessed damages at €16,500 but he was not recommending approval of the figure to the court.

Mr Justice Matthew Deery rejected the assessment and said he would adjourn the matter for assessment by the court.