Girl settles case over head getting trapped in electric gates for €20,000

Court told child suffered nightmares and post-traumatic stress after 2014 incident

A girl whose head and neck became trapped in electric gates in north Dublin has settled her case for €20,000 at the Circuit Civil Court. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien/The Irish Times.

A girl whose head and neck became trapped in electric gates in north Dublin has settled her case for €20,000 at the Circuit Civil Court. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien/The Irish Times.

 

A girl whose head and neck became trapped in electric gates in north Dublin has settled her case for €20,000.

The Circuit Civil Court was told that a passer-by heard Layla O’Neill, who was seven at the time, screaming and helped to force the gates open to free her.

Barrister Alannah McGurk told Judge Kathryn Hutton that the incident happened near Layla’s home in an apartment block at Marrsfield Avenue, Clongriffin on June 18th, 2014.

Ms McGurk, who appeared with Barry Healy Solicitors, said Layla was playing with friends near an underground car park at the apartments and went to retrieve a ball when the electric gates started to close.

“The gates closed on Layla’s neck trapping her by the head,” Ms McGurk told the court. “A workman had heard Layla scream and shouted for help, alerting her father.”

She said the two men succeeded in forcing the gates open far enough to release the child.

Abrasions

Ms McGurk said Layla was taken by ambulance to Temple Street Children’s Hospital with a suspected head injury. She was treated for abrasions to her neck and shoulders and detained overnight for observation before being discharged the following day.

She said Layla suffered from pain in both sides of her neck and her left shoulder. A series of x-rays had revealed no bone injuries.

Ms McGurk said Layla’s physical injuries cleared up after about three weeks and she suffered psychologically from recurring nightmares, but was now fully recovered.

She said Layla suffered post-traumatic stress following the entrapment, which the child viewed as a life threatening incident.

Layla, through her mother Joanne O’Neill, sued Pierse Contracting Ltd (in receivership) with a registered address at Birmayne House, Mulhuddart. The company responsible for the construction, development, control and operation of the electric gates. Fieldmark Management Company Ltd, of Mespil Road, Dublin 4, was a joint defendant.

Ms McGurk said the defendants had offered Layla a settlement of €20,000, which she recommended to the court. Judge Hutton approved the settlement.