The GMB has supported the parents of a young girl who suffered a broken arm in a frightening fall down dangerous stairs in a rented house.

Annabelle Cotton-Hill, aged nine, was just seven when she broke her right arm falling down the full length of a flight of stairs at the family’s home in Ireleith Road, Askam in Furness.

The narrow, winding and steep flight of stairs was not fitted with a handrail.

Annabelle’s father Russell Hill had complained about the stairs to the landlord, Michael Bimpson, on several occasions prior to the accident but nothing was done.

Environmental health officer recommended the stairs be fitted with a handrail

After the accident a visit from the environmental health officer recommended the stairs be fitted with a handrail.

Annabelle had to wear a sling on her arm for eight weeks after the terrifying fall. She was off school for three weeks and confined to her classroom during playtimes for a further five weeks. She also suffered nightmares for several months.

Following the accident Mr Hill, who now lives with his family in Barrow in Furness, contacted his union GMB Northern for advice. The union legal service referred Mr Hill to specialist lawyers Thompsons Solicitors in Newcastle to investigate a claim for compensation.

Thompsons argued that Bimpson had failed in his duty as a landlord to make the house safe before allowing it to be occupied.

Thompsons secured a settlement which was approved by the court.

Complained several times about the safety of the stair case to the landlord

Mr Hill said: “I had complained several times about the safety of the staircase to the landlord but nothing was done.

“My daughter should never have been put through this. She spent weeks with her arm in a sling and had nightmares for months. It is only recently that she has begun to fully recover from the affects of the accident. I just hope the landlord has learnt his lesson and makes sure his properties are safe in future.”

GMB Northern Regional Secretary Tom Brennan added: “I am pleased the union was able to support our member and his family in this claim for compensation for his daughter. Our legal service not only covers members who are injured at work or on the roads but also supports their family members who suffer injury caused by the fault of someone else.. This is part of a comprehensive package of benefits available to all GMB members in the Region.

Paul Morpeth from Thompsons Solicitors commented: “This obvious case of neglect by the landlord caused a young girl to sustain an injury that could easily have been avoided if he had only adhered to the basic health and safety standards required of all landlords.”