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Dublin woman awarded over €25k after being trapped in lift for four minutes

CourtsBy Sunday World
The Sqaure Shopping Centre, Tallaght, south Dublin
The Sqaure Shopping Centre, Tallaght, south Dublin

A Dublin woman, who became trapped in a shopping-centre lift for just over four minutes, has been awarded €25,060 in damages by the High Court.

Marie Dicker, of Cherryfield Road, Walkinstown, Dublin suffered a 'direct psychiatric injury' due to the incident which brought back memories of childhood claustrophobia, according to Mr Justice Anthony Barr.

Ms Dicker (54), a department store supervisor, stated in court that it felt like she had been trapped in the elevator for 20 minutes.

A CCTV recording from inside the lift counted that four minute and 35 seconds was the length of time the woman and her young son spent in the stationary lift.

The incident, which happened at The Square shopping centre in Tallaght on August 31, 2012, led Ms Dicker to sue both the shopping centre's management company and the lift operators.

The lift stopped moving soon after Ms Dicker entered it with her son.

Having pressed the alarm bell and banging on the lift door, she rang her husband who suggested she call emergency services.

Soon after making the call, a member of the shopping centre's security staff managed to get the lift door open to end Ms Dicker's four-minute ordeal.

The woman claimed the incident had a significant impact on her daily life, including being unable to go into fitting rooms in shops and using her handbag to close out public-toilet doors rather than lock them for fear of being trapped.

A psychologist found that Ms Dicker suffered from anxiety and panic attacks related to the lift incident.

Justice Barr stated that he believed the situation led to the woman suffering a direct psychiatric injury.

"The extent of the injury was somewhat out of the norm, due to the fact the plaintiff had suffered from claustrophobia as a child," he said, according to Independent.ie.