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'Car engine leak made me too ill for more babies'

A WOMAN has claimed she suffered carbon monoxide poisoning due to an alleged oil leak from the turbocharger of her BMW Mini Clubman car.

Helen Noble, a solicitor and mother of two, claims she suffered for about a year and a half and underwent medical treatment, including procedures resulting in her being unable to have more children, before the alleged carbon monoxide poisoning was detected.

She says she was advised the car, which she bought new in 2008 for about €45,000 under a hire purchase agreement, had been leaking noxious and dangerous exhaust gases for a considerable period.


Ms Noble (40), of Killballyowen, Aughrim, Co Wicklow, has sued Motor Import Ltd (MIL), trading as Frank Keane (Naas Road), BMW AG, with registered offices at Munich, Germany, and Permanent TSB. The defendants deny any liability.

The proceedings were before the High Court yesterday to deal with legal disclosure issues.

Ms Noble claims damages for personal injuries allegedly suffered due to alleged negligence, breach of duty, breach of contract, breach of warranty of the defendants, or their agents.

She bought the car on August 14, 2008 for €45,362, paid in instalments, the court heard. After the sale, she claims she took the car for regular servicing to MIL in July 2009 and August 2010.

The work was carried out under warranty in November 2009 to replace an allegedly defective sump gasket.

Between November 2009 and August 2011, Ms Noble claims she suffered significant illness including severe headaches, dizzy spells, exhaustion, blackouts, slurred speech, heart palpitations and anaemia.

Her husband decided to have the car serviced because the area around the engine was filthy and it was discovered there was "a serious leak of diesel fumes", it was claimed. Ms Noble was advised the turbo charger was leaking, it is also claimed.

She claims that the car was not adequately serviced or inspected.

After becoming extremely unwell in November 2009, she attended hospital with dizziness and other symptoms.

She also suffered headaches and initially believed her symptoms were due to her workload but her symptoms persisted, she claims.

Tests by her GP demonstrated she had acute anaemia. She was out of work for a month from mid March 2011 and referred for gynaecological assessment.


She underwent a hysteroscopy, which meant she could have no more children, and other procedures in the hope it would cure her anaemia.

Due to her sickness, she claims she and her husband abandoned their plan to have a third child. In May 2011, she was again unwell.

On discovering the alleged leak, Ms Noble claims she was shocked but relieved to have an explanation for her illness.

She stopped driving the car in August 2011 and a respiratory consultant who assessed her in October 2011 expressed the opinion her presentation was consistent with chronic carbon monoxide poisoning.