Pensioner’s miracle escape from bingo hall after quarter tonne metal gate smashes through his car windscreen
A pensioner miraculously escaped with his life after a huge car park barrier smashed through his windscreen – as he left a bingo hall.
Kenneth Compton, 80, narrowly avoided death after the quarter tonne metal gate crashed down on his bonnet and crushed the front of his vehicle.
The barrier at the Gala Bingo hall in Erdington, Birmingham, speared the car with such force that it bent the roof out of shape and left the windscreen completely shattered.
Incredibly, Mr Compton managed to stumble from the wreckage although he was taken to hospital for treatment to a head injury and fractured eye socket.
A health and safety report found that Gala Bingo had not secured the barrier at it’s Kingbury Road branch with a padlock, which caused it to crash down on the vehicle.
Investigators said that locks had been used previously but may have rusted and been removed in the lead-up to the near-fatal incident on June 3, 2011.
At Birmingham Magistrates Court last Friday parent company Gala Leisure Limited was fined £25,000 for two health and safety breaches.
The court heard that the company had failed to take the barriers into account in their risk assessments.
It was also ordered to pay £2,612 in costs after pleading guilty to offences under the Health and Safety at Work Act and the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations.
Speaking from his home in Great Barr, Birmingham, Mr Compton said he had suffered dizzy spells since the incident.
He said: “It was absolutely terrifying but I’m ok now.
“I just want to move on now and forget all about it.”
His wife Ada, 82, added: “When I saw the picture of the car I was horrified. He still has has a few dizzy spells – but we’re just glad he’s still here.
“He is very lucky to be alive.”
Councillor Barbara Dring, chair of Birmingham City Council’s licensing and public protection committee, said after the case: “The failure to assess the risk and secure the barrier put members of the public at risk.
“As a result of the company’s irresponsible actions a person was hospitalised with serious head injuries.
“Gala Leisure Limited and other companies who use security barriers need to make sure that lessons are learned from this case, which could, as a worse case scenario, resulted in a death.”
A spokesperson for Gala Bingo said that the company ‘fully accepted’ the fine dished out by the court.
She said: “Gala Bingo fully accepts the fine that was awarded in the court”.