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Belfast cancer sufferer and son awarded £10k in damages after snails crawled around damp home


The pair were awarded £10k at Belfast County Court.

The pair were awarded £10k at Belfast County Court.

PA Archive/PA Images

The pair were awarded £10k at Belfast County Court.

A cancer patient and his son who claimed snails regularly crawled around their damp rented accommodation are to receive more than £10,000 in damages.

John and Patrick Lyttle sued Choice Housing Ireland Ltd amid allegations that their health suffered due to the state of the house in east Belfast.

Lawyers for the pair contended that the social housing provider was negligent in failing to properly maintain and repair the terraced property at Reid Street.

Their action was settled at Belfast County Court with 63-year-old John Lyttle set to receive £7,500 and Patrick, 28, being paid £3,000.

A solicitor representing the father and son described the outcome a vindication of their legal action.

Ernie Waterworth of MTB law firm said: "My clients are relieved that Choice Housing has been held to account, and their expectation is that it will now carry out its duty to either re-house them or rectify their current accommodation."

In 2007 the Lyttles moved to Reid Street - then under the control of a different housing association - after being intimidated from their previous home.

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Legal action was launched two years ago amid continuing grievances about the standard of the property.

John Lyttle, who has received treatment for cancer and a serious heart condition, alleged the house was not properly fit for living in.

According to papers in the case there were failures to prevent snails crawling around the living room, stop damp and rain water coming in, and to replace bathroom facilities.

The state of the three-bedroom accommodation contributed to breathing problems and depression, it was alleged.

Proceedings were issued claiming negligence and breach of statutory duty.

A negotiated settlement was reached involving the payment of damages and legal costs to the plaintiffs, according to their solicitor.

Outside court Mr Lyttle Snr insisted disabled facilities which were recommended for his needs should be fitted to bring the home up to standard.

He added: "I'm seriously ill, and my son has depression and anxiety just thinking about it.

"There's damp, skirt boards were hanging off, water was getting in and we regularly found snails and their trails over the carpet."

A spokesperson for Choice said it does not comment on individual cases.

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