Scottish primary pupil wins settlement after he was crushed by a wall

A primary school pupil who was crushed by a wall leaving him with a broken leg that is now a centimetre longer than the other has won an out-of-court settlement.

Max MacPhee with mum Louise. Picture: SWNS

Max MacPhee was five years old when a wall he was leaning on collapsed in the playground at Ben Wyvis Primary School in Conon Bridge, near Dingwall, in the Highlands.

He had been leaning on the wall after his morning nursery session when a coping stone detached and struck him on the right leg, breaking it just beneath the knee.

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Max spent two months recovering, most of which was spent using a wheelchair or a walking frame. His bed was placed in the living room as he could not walk up the stairs.

Max MacPhee with chair and zimmer. Picture: SWNS.

For the first few weeks of his recovery the youngster also had to be bathed by hand while lying on top of a kitchen worktop because he could not get into a bath.

Max, now aged seven, has been left with one leg 1cm shorter than the other and his family sued Highland Council, which initially denied liability.

Investigations by law firm Digby Brown found the local authority was alerted to structure concerns at Ben Wyvis Primary when a coping stone fell from the same wall in 2016 - a year before Max was injured. Despite this, the council still failed to carry out adequate inspections or repair work.

Max’s mother Louise MacPhee, 34, said the Highland Council “tried to blame” her son.

She said: “It’s shocking that Highland Council didn’t have the common decency to hold their hands up and just help a little boy who was hurt by their own failings instead of having the audacity to try and blame him. The council put us through hell, not to mention wasted public money on legal bills, when they could just have done the right thing from day one. At least now they can be held accountable and everyone will know their shameful tactics in blaming a little boy.”

Highland Council denied liability throughout a civil action but last week backtracked by offering an out-of-court settlement.

David McGowan, who helped to secure the settlement, said: “This was clearly an accident waiting to happen and it’s distressing to consider how much worse Max or anyone else could have been injured.

“Every local authority has a duty of care towards those entering their premises.”

The sum of the settlement has not been disclosed.