Hearing the screams of a seven-year-old girl, whose head and neck was trapped in electric gates, a passer-by helped in forcing them open and freeing her, the Circuit Civil Court heard.   Counsel for the girl told Judge Kathryn Hutton that the terrifying incident took place a short distance from the girls’ home.  Counsel went on to say the girl had been playing with friends near an underground car park at the apartments and had gone to retrieve a ball when the electrically operated gates started to close.  The gates closed on her neck trapping her by the head.  A workman heard the scream and shouted for help, alerting her father.  She said that between them the two men had succeeded in forcing the gates open far enough to release the girl. Counsel said the girl had been taken by ambulance under spinal protection to Temple Street Children’s Hospital with a suspected head injury. She had been treated for abrasions to her neck and shoulders and detained overnight for observation and discharged the following day.  The girl had afterwards suffered from pain to both sides of her neck and to her left shoulder which had been bruised. A series of x-rays had revealed there had been no bone injuries.  The physical injuries had cleared up after about three weeks. She continued to suffer psychologically from recurring nightmares but was now fully recovered.  The girl suffered post-traumatic stress following entrapment that she had perceived as life threatening.  The defendants had offered a settlement of €20,000 which was recommended to the court and which Judge Hutton approved.

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