Cause of girl’s severe electric shock revealed

 

THE mother of a girl who was left severely brain damaged from an electric shock at state-owned housing in Perth has called for a public education campaign to warn about the dangers that almost killed her child.

Denishar Woods was shocked with up to 230 volts when she touched a garden tap at her family's Beldon property in March last year, leaving her wheelchair-bound, effectively blind and unable to do anything for herself.

Then aged 11, she was initially not expected to survive.

 

Denishar Woods was just 11 years old at the time. Picture: 9 News
Denishar Woods was just 11 years old at the time. Picture: 9 News

 

Young Denishar was electrocuted by a faulty tap at their public housing home. Picture: 9 News
Young Denishar was electrocuted by a faulty tap at their public housing home. Picture: 9 News

A report into the cause of the shock, released on Friday, concluded that a failure of a neutral conductor in the aerial service cable to the property, caused by heat, resulted in metal in the home attached to the earthing system to become live.

The WA state government said the faulty connection was the property of Western Power and it was up to the consumer to alert them to potential faults.

Ms Harrison had, in fact, called Housing Direct After Hours Emergency Call Centre less than half an hour before the tragedy to report that she and two of her children had suffered electric shocks when they touched the metallic switchboard enclosure.

Six months prior, one of Ms Harrison's children also received a "tingle" from a bathroom light switch, which was replaced.

Denishar Woods needs 24-hour care and will never fully recover after she suffered an electric shock from a tap outside her home in Perth. Picture: AAP/Rebecca Le May
Denishar Woods needs 24-hour care and will never fully recover after she suffered an electric shock from a tap outside her home in Perth. Picture: AAP/Rebecca Le May

 

“It’s sad no one has taken full liability and put their hand up,” Denishar’s mother Lacey Harrison told 9News. Picture: 9 News
“It’s sad no one has taken full liability and put their hand up,” Denishar’s mother Lacey Harrison told 9News. Picture: 9 News

After Energy Minister Bill Johnston urged anyone who experienced shocks or tingles from fittings in their homes to report them directly to Western Power immediately, the mother-of-seven called for a public education campaign. She also urged the state government to pay compensation to cover Denishar's substantial ongoing care.

"Money is not going to fix or help my daughter get better in any way other than having access to physiotherapists - a lot more than what we get - and speech therapy and occupational therapy.

"But this is every day for the rest my life - I am stuck here. I can't go and get a job. I am so committed to this little girl's everyday wellbeing."

Denishar received medical care at Princess Margaret Hospital in Perth.
Denishar received medical care at Princess Margaret Hospital in Perth.

The family had engaged a lawyer but Ms Harrison said they had been waiting for the Department's report before pursuing compensation from the State Government and Western Power.

The family has not yet accepted the Government's $1 million act of grace payment offered earlier this year, after their initial request of a $3.2 million settlement from the Government was rejected.

At the time, Denishar's mother Lacey Harrison, described the decision as "deplorable".

"We should not be in this deplorable position where we've got to wait years for the compensation."



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