Woman who plunged 20ft through skylight and landed in Barclays bank awarded five-figure sum in compensation (From Bournemouth Echo)
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Woman who plunged 20ft through skylight and landed in Barclays bank awarded five-figure sum in compensation
5:20am Wednesday 23rd October 2013 in News
A WOMAN has been awarded thousands of pounds in compensation after she plummeted through a roof skylight and landed in an empty bank 20ft below.
Emma Barker-Knott, 41, suffered a broken pelvis in the fall which happened as she watered flowers on the roof terrace of her flat above Barclays in Highcliffe.
She caught her foot under the lip of the dome-shaped skylight, stumbled forwards and crashed through it.
A false ceiling a few feet below broke her fall until that gave way and she dropped 20ft onto the floor.
Despite a broken pelvis and five fractured vertebrae, she managed to drag herself to a phone and call 999.
She was rescued by firefighters and spent a month in hospital, undergoing two operations on her pelvis.
Investigations showed the skylight had become brittle in the summer heat and freezing winter temperatures and had not been properly checked by the bank.
Miss Barker-Knott was given a five figure sum from Barclays in an out of court settlement.
The bank has also been prosecuted for health and safety breaches and ordered to pay nearly £20,000 in fines and costs.
Miss Barker-Knott, a personal assistant said shfe had been watering flowers on the roof terrace when the accident happened.
“It must have been a 20ft fall in all. I fell into the staff quarters of the bank and luckily landed on the floor and not a table or chair,” she said.
“I was in agony and there was blood everywhere.
“I couldn't walk and I knew straight away that I had broken something.
“I mustered up the strength and managed to pull myself along the floor using my forearms to get near a phone on one of the desks.
“Once I had worked out how to make outside calls using the phones I dialled 999.
“I was in hospital for a month in total and was unable to work, sit down, cook, or even lie in bed without pain.”
Miss Barker-Knott was off work for 18 months and has been on painkillers after the accident in August 2009.
Barclays pleaded guilty for failing to discharge a duty under the Health and Safety Act at Bournemouth Magistrates’ Court and was fined £3,500 with £16,000 costs.
Barclays bank apology
A spokesman for Barclays Bank said “We extend our sincere and continued apologies to Miss Barker-Knott in relation to the injuries she suffered on our premises.
“On this occasion, despite engaging with several independent professionals who examined the premises from a safety perspective, the unsafe features which led to Miss Barker-Knott’s injuries were not drawn to our attention.
“Barclays reaffirms its serious and substantial commitment to health and safety across its banks.”
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