Glasgow & West Scotland

Cathie Kelly loses seagull swoop injury compensation bid

Cathie Kelly Image copyright ciaran donnelly
Image caption Cathie Kelly raised an action for damages against the owners of the building

A woman who claimed she was hurt by a swooping seagull has lost her legal bid for £7,000 damages.

Cathie Kelly said she stumbled on steps as she tried to escape the "terrifying" dive-bombing bird outside the Ladyburn business centre in Greenock.

She said the building's owners had not taken sufficient care of her safety.

A judge at the Court of Session rejected her case after hearing that it was not possible to say where the gull responsible for the attack came from.

Landlords Riverside Inverclyde (Property Holdings) disputed Mrs Kelly's claim that it did not take sufficient care of her safety.

The court heard how a nearby rubbish dump was a magnet for gulls which nested on the old Victorian school building in Pottery Street.

Aggressive gulls

They were said to become aggressive when they had chicks.

The judge was told of people dashing in and out of the Pottery Street building using umbrellas and how garages in the vicinity flew helium balloons to protect their cars from droppings.

Mrs Kelly, 59, from Glasgow, claimed there had previously been patrols using owls and hawks to try to get rid of the menace.

She said that she stopped for lunch on 17 June last year and planned to head for a nearby burger van to buy something to eat.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption The court heard seagulls nested on the old Victorian school building

She said it was impossible to see through the stained glass of the door as she went outside.

"I walked out the door and I barely got to the bottom of the steps and this gull came for me at full speed, wings outstretched, coming right for my face," she said.

"I realised I would never get to the van so I had to get back into the building for safety."

Mrs Kelly said: "It was screaming at me. I was terrified. I thought it was going for my face.

"I couldn't look up to see it because it was right over my head and I really thought it was going to hurt me. I was shouting but it would not go away."

The court heard how as Mrs Kelly turned to go back inside her left shoe came off and she stumbled onto the steps.

"I was badly winded and I was in instant pain. It was very painful," she said.

'Shaken and distressed'

Court papers said the incident left Mrs Kelly, who worked for CVS Inverclyde, "shaken and distressed".

She was off work for two weeks. then took to carrying an umbrella to protect herself as she made her way to and from her office.

Experts on gull behaviour told the court that the birds were "free wild creatures" protecting their young - but where a chick was found was no indication as to where it had come from.

In rejecting Mrs Kelly's claim, the judge said the crucial question was whether the attacking gull came from the LBC building and this could not be known.

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