Two girls´ claim for being trapped in a shop changing room while a mock armed robbery was taking place has been resolved at the Circuit Civil Court.
In March 2013, the two girls – Abbie and Casie Kennedy from Lucan in County Dublin – had been shopping with their mother at the H&M shop in the Dundrum Shopping Centre, and were in one of the shop´s changing rooms, when they heard someone shouting at the staff to open the till and get down on the floor.
Unaware that what they could hear was part of a training exercise, the three remained trapped in the shop changing room until there was silence. The girls´ mother – Claudia – then opened the changing room door and looked out but saw nothing. She waited several minutes until she heard voices in the shop before leaving the changing room with her terrified daughters.
On speaking with a store manager, Claudia discovered that the event had been a robbery simulation and, when she got home, she called the H&M head office to complain that the shop had failed to check for the presence of customers before starting the training exercise. A representative of the company apologised and offered Claudia a €30 voucher.
Dissatisfied with the response from the company, Claudia made a claim for being trapped in a shop changing room on behalf of her two daughters against H&M Hennes &Mauritz (Ireland) Ltd. In her legal action, Claudia alleged that Abbie and Casie had been terrified and in fear for their and their mother’s lives. She also claimed that the experience had given both girls nightmares.
The company made offers of compensation for eleven-year-old Abbie (€10,000) and eight-year-old Casie (€8,000) in settlement of their claim for being trapped in a shop changing room. At the Circuit Civil Court in Dublin, Judge Rory MacCabe approved the offers after hearing how the sisters had been traumatised by the “terrifying” incident.