A MUM-of-three accused of making a fraudulent claim by furniture giant Ikea after she stopped a mirrored-wardrobe from falling on top of her two-year-old grandson has been telling the truth from the outset, a judge has ruled.
Teaching assistant Carol Ravenscroft was awarded more than £3,500 in damages including interest during a hearing at Manchester County Court on Thursday.
The court heard how the 57-year-old was shopping in the Warrington store on March 16, 2014, at 3pm with her daughter Lisa, now 26, and Dylan, now 3. Staff at Ikea had recently moved the piece of furniture which began to fall in the direction of Carol and her grandson.
Carol, who lives in Salford, instinctively threw out her arm to stop the wardrobe from landing on Dylan, suffering a number of injuries to her arm. She said: “It could have been a lot worse if the wardrobe had hit Dylan. That’s the scariest thing about all this. I just did what any grandparent would do.”
Carol, who has two grandchildren, pursued a personal injury claim only to discover that Ikea were to use the defence that she was acting fraudulently and was fundamentally dishonest. This was after some members of staff at the store as well as an independent witnesses came forward with conflicting information to those put forward by Carol in her claim.
But judge described this as an ‘unequivocal allegation’ by the store adding that Ikea took ‘a stance of suspicion rather than sympathy’. He said: “I do not find fraud on the part of the claimant and I stress nor do I think the defendant’s witnesses deliberately concocted a story to thwart a plan for damages.”
Speaking after the hearing, Carol said: “It has been going on a long time but I just wanted them to admit it was their fault. I was not going to give up because I know I am not a liar. I felt like they were bullying me to drop the case. I work in a school with children with additional needs and for someone to say I am fundamentally dishonest and fraudulent meant I could have lost my job.”
Sheldon Fagelman, of Pendlebury-based legal firm, GLP Solicitors, said: “We believe that Ikea were trying to use these tactics to put her off in the hope she would drop her claim. My client was shocked with the way she was treated by Ikea in making such terrible allegations against her and suffered stress as a result.”
Ikea must also pay an undisclosed amount in costs and legal fees