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26th February 2008

No laughing matter as pub visitor falls through trap door

Man injured as he fell into the cellar

A man who fell into the cellar of a public house in Fishguard has been awarded damages for injuries sustained to his chest and arm. In a scene reminiscent of the Only Fools and Horses “Hole in One” TV episode in which character Uncle Albert falls into a pub cellar, Mr Joe Parkinson, 63, of Ballybrack in County Dublin, fell several feet after a cellar door was left open.

At the time of the accident, Mr Parkinson was visiting The Royal Oak public house in Fishguard, South West Wales with his wife when he paid a visit to the Gents toilet. As he went to return to his table, he fell through an open trap door which had not been cordoned off and had no danger signs present. The accident left Mr Parkinson with injuries to his chest and restricted movement of his arm due to pain and weakness.

No warning signs or protective barriers

“It was a hell of a shock,” said Mr Parkinson. “You don’t expect there to be a gaping hole in the floor without any warning signs or protective barrier in place. It could have been worse, especially if a child or elderly person had fallen awkwardly or heavily. I’m just lucky that I didn’t suffer with any injuries more serious than I sustained.”

“It sounds like something out of a comedy sketch, but this was no laughing matter for my client,” said Eamonn McDonough, Mr Parkinson’s representative at Thompsons Solicitors in Cardiff. “It was clearly dangerous to leave the cellar door open. You would think it’s such an obvious hazard that steps would have been taken immediately to protect members of the public.

“Mr Parkinson’s injuries were so severe that it will take 18-24 months for him to recover following the incident.”

Mr Parkinson was awarded compensation of £3,750.

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