Two children have received settlements of compensation for the emotional trauma they sustained when caught up in a mock armed robbery in a Dublin shop.
The incident occurred in March 2013 when Casie and Abbie Kennedy – aged eight and eleven respectively – were shopping at the Dundrum Shopping Centre with their mother, Claudia. As the family were trying clothes on in the changing room of H&M, they heard a man shouting aggressively and swearing at staff. He was ordering the shop assistants to hand over any cash in the tills and then to get on the ground. However, it later transpired that this was just a training exercise.
The young family were trapped in the shop’s change rooms, completely unaware that no-one was in any real danger. Claudia kept her daughters in the booth until the shouting had stopped, at which point she went to investigate what happened. Her daughters remained, terrified, in the changing area.
When Claudia asked the shop assistants what had happened, the manager explained the situation to her. Claudia was furious that no-one had cared to check that every area of the shop was empty of customers before the training exercise was undertaken.
Yet when Claudia telephoned the H&M head office to complain, she was offered nothing but a €30 and a curt apology. Claudia then decided to make a claim for emotional trauma compensation on her daughters’ behalf. In the claim, made against H&M Hennes&Mauritz (Ireland)Ltd, it was alleged that both of her young daughters were afraid for their lives whilst trapped in the changing rooms.
The retail giant went on to offer the girls compensation settlements for their trauma – €8,000 for Casie and €10,000 for Abbie. The case then proceeded to the Circuit Civil Court, where Judge Rory MacCabe approved the settlements.