Cleaner, 45, who sued exclusive St Paul’s boys’ school loses bid for compensation

Cleaner, 45, who sued exclusive St Paul’s boys’ school attended by Samuel Pepys, Dan Snow and George Osborne claiming she was electrocuted by a faulty hoover loses bid for compensation when judge ruled she had merely experienced a mild static electric shock

  • Renata Plawska-Czerepak claimed she was knocked out and injured her spine
  • She alleged it was after being shocked by a faulty vacuum cleaner at a school
  • After a trial, a judge ruled against cleaner, dashing her hopes of compensation

Renata Plawska-Czerepak, pictured outside Mayor’s and City County Court, claimed she was knocked out cold, fell down a flight of steps and injured her spine after being shocked by a faulty vacuum cleaner

A cleaner who sued a £57,000-a-year boarding school claiming she was electrocuted by a hoover has lost her bid for compensation when the judge ruled she had merely experienced a mild static electric shock.

Renata Plawska-Czerepak claimed she was knocked out cold, fell down a flight of steps and injured her spine after being shocked by a faulty vacuum cleaner at top boys’ public school St Paul’s, in Barnes, in November 2014.

The 45-year-old said she was holding the metal section of her vacuum cleaner whilst hoovering stairs in the school theatre when she was jolted by a sudden electric shock.

The ‘surprise’ effect threw her off balance and she toppled backwards down three steps, banging her face in the fall and being briefly knocked unconscious, she told the Mayors and City of London Court.

Her barrister, Philip Williams, argued that the vacuum cleaner was faulty – as a result of which her workplace was unsafe.

But after a trial, Judge Alan Saggerson ruled against the cleaner, dashing her hopes of compensation by finding that she had experienced ‘static’ from the vacuum cleaner rather than a shock from dodgy wiring.

St Paul’s School, which was founded over 500 years ago, has a reputation for academic excellence and has produced a string of famous old boys over the centuries.

Including Samuel Pepys, Field Marshal Lord Montgomery and more recently the broadcaster, Dan Snow.

St Paul's School, which was founded over 500 years ago, has a reputation for academic excellence and has produced a string of famous old boys over the centuries

St Paul’s School, which was founded over 500 years ago, has a reputation for academic excellence and has produced a string of famous old boys over the centuries

It is set in grounds on the banks of the Thames and education and boarding fees come to around £57,000 per year.

Mrs Plawska-Czerepak, of Wembley, claimed she strained her cervical spine in the accident, which she claimed ignited previously dormant back problems and triggered psychological symptoms.

Her fall has left her with lasting lower back pain, court documents stated.

‘It was only a mild shock, but I got scared and fell backwards,’ she told the court.

The Polish national asked the judge for more than £5,000 compensation.

But whilst accepting the cleaner as an honest witness, the judge threw out her cash claim.

Mrs Plawska-Czerepak, of Wembley, said she was holding the metal section of her vacuum cleaner whilst hoovering stairs in the school theatre when she was jolted by a sudden electric shock

Mrs Plawska-Czerepak, of Wembley, said she was holding the metal section of her vacuum cleaner whilst hoovering stairs in the school theatre when she was jolted by a sudden electric shock

‘I’m afraid I cannot accept the submissions made on her behalf and this claim fails,’ he told the court.

‘I reject the allegation that it was a pure electric shock and conclude that this was a static electric shock which took her by surprise, and as a result she fell back down the stairs and suffered injury.’

He also declined to accept that the fall had knocked her out.

‘In those circumstances, no claim made in common law or breach of duty is sustainable,’ the judge concluded.