Damages for woman traumatised in filling station robbery
Theresa Cullen told court she lived behind drawn blinds in her home for two years
Theresa Cullen was working as a cashier in a Topaz filling station in Tallaght when she was confronted by two robbers. Photograph: Cyril Byrne
A 64-year-old woman who lived for almost two years behind drawn blinds in her home following a robbery at work has settled a €60,000 damages claim for an undisclosed sum.
Theresa Cullen, formerly of Tamarisk Heights, Kilnamanagh, Tallaght, Dublin, told the Circuit Civil Court Monday that when she worked as a cashier in a Topaz filling station she had been confronted by two robbers, one carrying a wheelbrace. They had escaped with only a small amount of money.
Ms Cullen, who told barrister Andrew Walker who appeared with McKeever Solicitors for Topaz Energy Limited that she had since moved to a new home in Tralee, Co Kerry, said she froze when confronted by the robbers and was afterwards unable to leave her home alone for almost two years.
She had lived behind drawn blinds and would only go out when accompanied by one of her sons. She said she had gone to counselling once but, in a bid not to let the robbers win, had eventually taken up yoga to calm herself and help her recovery.
In her €60,000 damages claim for personal injury Ms Cullen claimed she had developed post-traumatic stress disorder and had to take anti-depressant medication while going through a very severe period of depression.
Barrister Kevin Callan, who appeared with Romaine Scally Solicitors for Ms Cullen, told Judge Jacqueline Linnane she had been a cashier at a Topaz filling station and convenience store on Belgard Road, Tallaght, on March 1st, 2014 when the robbery took place.
Threats of violence
“Ms Cullen was exposed to threats of violence from two unidentified men during a raid on the premises,” Mr Callan said.
He said a security guard had left the shop several minutes before Ms Cullen’s 11pm shift ended and had left the premises vulnerable to attack.
Ms Cullen told Judge Linnane she had been sorting out her till when the two men walked in and demanded money. One of them had been carrying a wheel brace and she felt threatened. There was only about €100 left in the till at the time.
“I couldn’t leave the house for a long time and lived with the blinds drawn. I lost weight as I could not eat,” she said. “I just stayed in the house but things improved after about three years”. She had been helped by yoga and a lot of prayer.
Following her evidence Mr Callan told the court that her claim had been settled and could be struck out with an order for costs against Topaz Energy, Topaz House, Beech Hill, Clonskeagh, Dublin.
Ms Cullen also brought a claim against Ashjen Limited, which trades as At Risk Security Group, Oak Road, Dublin, which was represented in court by barrister Robert McGarr and Gary Irwin solicitors. Following announcement of the settlement with Topaz, Judge Linnane struck out the proceedings against Ashjen Limited with no further order.
The judge said Ms Cullen had given her evidence very clearly and it must have been difficult for her going back over what had happened on the night in question. “She was very brave,” she said.