SCHOOLGIRL Samantha Cronin (15), whose right eye was severely injured in a classroom accident at Nightingale High School ,Wanstead, was awarded £31,498 damages by a HighCourt judge on Monday.
Samantha , of Laura Close , Lorne Gardens , was 12 when a chip from a piece of perspex being cut by a friend in an art class flew into her eye.
She was taken to Whipps Cross Hospital for an emergency operation and was now left with no usefull sight in that eye.
Samantha , through her father Patrick, sued Redbrige council , alleging the school was negligent in not requiring her to wear goggles while the work was being carried out.
The authority denied negligence and complained that the October 1983 accident had not occured as Samantha alleged.
The council contended that she got the particle of perspex on her finger and rubbed it in her eye.
But the judge accepted the expert evidence of a consultant surgeon that the injury was so severe - it was right at the back of the eye - that it could not have been caused by a particle being rubbed into it. The authority was negligent in not requiring the girl to wear goggles.
“The eyes are precious organs and very easily injured and the wearing of goggles would have been an easy precaution, “said the judge.
He described Samantha as “a brave and courageous girl who has coped with the loss of vision and the disfigurement to her face , although she is stil attractive .”
The judge granted the authority a 28- day stay of execution in repect of all but £5000 of all the damages pending a possible appeal.
Subject to any reduction on appeal the bulk of the damages will be invested on Samantha’s behalf.But the judge agreed that she could have £1000 immediately.

Commenting after the case,Samantha’s Mother Brenda said shewas concerned for other Redbridge children and hoped goggles would have to be provided in the future.
she said that she was concerned not only for Samantha but also for her Son Lee (12) , a Wanstead High School pupil.”I want children to be protected in their classrooms “ said Mrs Cronin.
She was also critical of the ordeal that her Daughter had gone through.
“I do not think is it fair for a child like her to be dragged throught he courts for four days,” said Mrs Cronin.”Now she is just pleased that it is over and what she does with the £1000 is entirely up to her.”
A Redbridge council spokesman said “Our insurers will be studying the judgement when it is received and considering whether or not to appeal. “

Mother’s concern for other pupils

Schoolgirl gets £31,498 damages

APRIL 25 1986

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