Mother whose head was split open after she was crash-tackled to the ground by a security guard while walking in a hospital car park sues for $786,770 in damages
- Toni Burcher, 53, claims she was assaulted by security guards at a hospital
- She said was left with a six centimetres gash and claimed psychological damage
- Ms Burcher went to the hospital after she attempted suicide but decided to leave
- The security company claimed its guard ‘tripped’ and did not tackle her
A mother whose head was split open after she was ‘crash-tackled’ to the ground by a security guard at a hospital car park is claiming $786,770 in damages.
Toni Burcher, 53, was walking out of Logan Hospital, south of Brisbane, to her car with her husband Robert Cowling on May 5, 2017 when she was confronted by security officer Luke Bailey.
CCTV footage showed Mr Bailey approaching the pair and blocking Ms Burcher, who has a mental illness.
The video then shows him appearing to tackle her and they both fall to the ground.
Ms Burcher has sued Mr Bailey, his fellow guard Lynda Hadley, their employer MSS Security and the hospital’s management Metro South Hospital and Health Service.
Ms Burcher claims she has a psychological injury and scarring from the incident, the Courier-Mail reported.
Security footage has shown the moment a mentally ill mother was tackled to the ground by a hospital security guard and prompted her to sue the officers involved
Ms Burcher’s head hit the ground and split open a six-centimetre gash which required three staples and left her with scaring.
She claimed once she was on the ground Mr Bailey pulled out parts of her hair and pushed her head into the ground as she struggled.
After attempting to help his struggling wife Mr Cowling claimed Mr Bailey assaulted him and kept him pinned to the ground, while Ms Hadley held onto his wife.
She lodged a claim for $786,770 at the Supreme Court for psychological damage and a range of injuries
Ms Burcher previously told ABC News she was taken the hospital after she attempted to take her own life but decided to leave after she became upset when staff asked her inappropriate questions about the suicide method she had used.
‘I don’t think she was treated well at all,’ Mr Cowling said.
‘I wanted to get her out of there, the staff were stressing her out. I wanted to take her to the QEII [hospital] where I know she would be treated better.’
In her claim, Ms Burcher said she was ‘falsely imprisoned’ by MSS security officers while she was pinned down and dressed in nothing but a blanket and her underwear.
MSS Security previously conducted an internal review and claimed their officers had not used excessive force and in another Supreme Court case said Mr Bailey ‘tripped’.
After the incident Queensland Police ran their own investigation but said they did not find any evidence that the security officer’s actions were excessive.
Ms Burcher said she hoped her legal efforts would result in better handling of people with mental illness in the future. Pictured is Logan Hospital in Queensland
In court documents Mr Bailey claimed Ms Burcher slapped his colleague Ms Hadley with a bloodied hand.
But Mr Cowling argued his wife thought she had been spat at by the security officers and wasn’t aware it was her own blood.
‘Toni put her fingers in the (spit) and wiped it on the guard’s left cheek with three fingers, saying in her head as she did it “Take your (spit) back”,’ Mr Cowling said.
Ms Burcher said she hoped her legal efforts would result in better handling of people with mental illness in the future.