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Parents woke up to find tragic plunge toddler missing in flat

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Tragedy: Andrea Gazsiova

Tragedy: Andrea Gazsiova

The Tolka Vale apartment complex from which the toddler fell 30 feet

The Tolka Vale apartment complex from which the toddler fell 30 feet

Tragedy: Andrea Gazsiova

The parents of a toddler who fell from a fourth floor apartment window told an inquest of their horror when they woke up to find her missing.

Twenty-one-month-old Andrea Gazsiova died from severe head injuries sustained when she fell from a bedroom window at the Tolka Vale Apartments in Finglas, Dublin 11, on September 1 last year.

Dublin Coroner's Court heard the window she fell from had a faulty handle and could not be closed fully.

Baby Andrea had been sleeping with her parents in the main bedroom but got up while they slept and went to the next room where she is believed to have climbed onto the windowsill and fallen.

Her father Ondej Gazsi gave evidence that he woke up and went to the bathroom at 8.40am with Andrea waiting for him before they went back to bed. His wife Monica Godlova was still sleeping.

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Monica Godlova at the Coroners Court inquest into the death of Andrea Gazsiova on Store Street, Dublin

Monica Godlova at the Coroners Court inquest into the death of Andrea Gazsiova on Store Street, Dublin

Collins Dublin, Gareth Chaney

Monica Godlova at the Coroners Court inquest into the death of Andrea Gazsiova on Store Street, Dublin

"I took Andrea to bed and she made me cuddle and play. I then went back to sleep," he said.

When the Slovakian couple woke up, they realised Andrea was no longer in the bed. They immediately started searching the apartment. Having checked everywhere Ms Godlova realised that the window in their son Ronald's room was open "a little bit".

"I went to the window and opened it. I looked out and down and could see Andrea on the ground. I started roaring for Ondej. I said 'quickly, quickly, go down'. I was very panicked," she said. The couple ran downstairs. "I was roaring 'help'," said Ms Godlova.

When they got to her, Mr Gazsi picked Andrea up. A neighbour tried to call the emergency services but froze. A taxi was hailed by another neighbour and the couple rushed Andrea to the emergency department at the Mater Hospital.

The inquest heard that medics worked on the baby for just under an hour before death was pronounced.

Coroner Dr Brian Farrell said medical reports indicate she had suffered "catastrophic and irreversible" head injuries. The post-mortem confirmed that Andrea died from severe head injuries consisted with a fall from a height.

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Ondej Gazsi at the Coroners Court inquest into the death of Andrea Gazsiova on Store Street, Dublin

Ondej Gazsi at the Coroners Court inquest into the death of Andrea Gazsiova on Store Street, Dublin

Collins Dublin, Gareth Chaney

Ondej Gazsi at the Coroners Court inquest into the death of Andrea Gazsiova on Store Street, Dublin

Ms Godlova said the window in the bedroom was always broken. Her husband earlier gave evidence that they would close it but it "kept opening itself somehow". She said they told the landlady about the broken window, through her mother who has good English.

"The landlord would promise but do nothing," she said. "The landlord would always say 'this week, this week' and would never come. She would always be delaying everything."

regulations

Structural engineer Cathal Kelly inspected the window and confirmed it was faulty. It could not close sufficiently or lock and the hinges were also faulty. The windows were compliant with regulations when the apartment block was built in 1998. Safety restrictor regulations were introduced in 2006.

The couple's landlady was present in court but did not give evidence and was not named during proceedings. Dr Farrell returned a verdict of misadventure, identifying the broken handle as a risk factor.

hnews@herald.ie


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