National Trust Faces Accident Claim

The National Trust is being sued for £300,000 after an 11 year old boy was killed by a falling branch at one the stately homes it maintains. Daniel Mullinger was killed while on a school trip.

The trust is being sued by Wendy Mullinger, the boy’s mother. She claims that trust failed to inspect and maintain the beech tree which is 160 years old.

The school trip was an orienteering exercise at Felbrigg Hall, in Norfolk. Out of the 10 students who were there, one was killed and three more youngsters were injured by the 70 ft branch that fell on top of them.

One student, Harry Bowen, suffered some life-threatening injuries and would not be able to return to school for a year. Unfortunately Harry is wheelchair bound, and it will take extensive surgery on his hips in the future to give him the possibility to walk.

Two other students, Katie Farthing and Max Farely, both suffered personal injuries of broken bones and continue to have flashbacks and nightmares since the trip.

Mrs Mullinger and the three youngsters are joining together to launch a legal accident claim against the National Trust for more than £300,000. The four claimants are alleging that the accident was caused by ‘negligence and/or breach of the common duty of care’ on the part of the National Trust organisation.

The tree had a history of branch shedding and a weakness in the branch which fell would Peter Griffiths, regional director for National Trust in the East of England, said: ‘None of us in the National Trust can imagine what a challenge the last three years have been for Daniel Mullinger’s family and the families of the other children injured in this tragic accident in 2007.

“After what the coroner described as a comprehensive investigation, North Norfolk District Council stated that, in their view, Daniel’s death was an accident that was not foreseeable. The coroner recorded a verdict of accidental death. It would be inappropriate to comment further on this civil case at such a preliminary stage.”