December 10 2013 Latest news:
Wednesday, September 25, 2013
The family of a Taverham girl are suing a city store and claiming more than £300,000 in damages after a heavy mock marble fireplace fell on her, fracturing her skull.
They have lodged a writ at the High Court on the basis the surround at the Laura Ashley store in London Street had not been properly secured.
The claim states the girl, who was two at the time and is now eight, was with her father at the clothing and home furnishings store on August 2, 2008, when she stood on the hearth attached to the 35kg fireplace surround, part of a shop display.
The claim states that “this caused the fire surround to fall onto the girl thereby causing her personal injury and other losses”.
The girl sustained a fractured skull and was taken to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital and later Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge. Initially doctors said her prognosis was “not good”, but she went on to make a good recovery.
As reported, the fireplace surround at the store had stood unfixed to the wall for at least six months and the company’s procedures had not been followed when selecting an installer.
In 2009 Laura Ashley Ltd pleaded guilty at Norwich Magistrates’ Court to two breaches of health and safety legislation. In a prosecution brought by Norwich City Council the company was fined the maximum of £20,000 for breaching Section 3 of the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974, under which employers have a responsibility to prevent risks to the health and safety of non-employees.
It was also fined £3,500 for a breach of the Management of Health & Safety at Work regulations 1999, having failed to review its risk assessments after a fireplace surround at another store in Guildford, Surrey, also fell on a child.
Norwich City Council was awarded its full costs of £8,137 at the hearing.