Boy gets €15k after leg impaled on tree at zoo

A 13-year-old schoolboy, whose left leg was impaled on a tree stump in Dublin Zoo, has been awarded €15,500 damages in the Circuit Civil Court.

Barrister William John Kelly told the court that in November 2011, Sam Conway Thornton had been walking with his mother, Gemma Conway, and his aunt, Georgia Conway, close to the Reptile House when the accident happened.

Sam, who was aged 10 at the time, had tripped over a loose cable and had fallen on a sharp, low-cut tree stump sticking out of the ground and which had, allegedly, recently been pruned.

Circuit Court President Mr Justice Raymond Groarke heard that the boy’s leg was impaled on the stump and he had required lifting by his mother, Gemma, of Broombridge Road, Cabra West, Dublin. Sam’s wound was bleeding profusely and he was taken to a first aid centre on site, before being sent to Children’s University Hospital, Temple Street, in Dublin where a laceration to his leg was cleaned and stitched.

He was discharged on crutches and needed to come back to the hospital on several occasions to have the wound dressed. Sam was also prescribed a course of antibiotics.

The court heard that Sam suffered significant pain for several weeks and his social, domestic and recreational life had been disrupted following his injury.

Through his mother he sued the Zoological Society of Ireland, with a registered office at Zoological Gardens, Phoenix Park, Dublin, for negligence.

Mr Kelly told the court that following talks between the parties, a €15,500 settlement offer had been made.

Judge Groarke approved it.


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