Pensioner's face 'grated like cheese'

03:44, Nov 12 2012
manhole cover
WARNING: The manhole cover was taped off and marked this afternoon.

When Isabella Tucker was taken to hospital on Friday, she looked like she had been the victim of a vicious assault.

The 87-year-old had two black eyes, cuts to her head, a broken nose, a broken finger and a fractured cheekbone.

However, it was Christchurch's broken footpaths that had inflicted the injuries.

isabelle tucker std
INJURED: Isabella Tucker.

Nicola Tucker was walking with her elderly mother in Claremont Ave in Papanui on Friday night when the accident happened.

"We were on our usual walk when we decided to go a different way,'' she said.

''Mum tripped and fell on this huge grate and went sliding across it.


isabelle tucker2 std
LIFTED: The manhole cover on Claremont Ave in Papanui.

"It grated her face like a cheese grater".

Her mother had tripped on a Telecom manhole cover that had risen from the footpath, possibly as a result of the earthquakes.

Her mother was left bleeding on the ground for 30 minutes before an ambulance arrived and took her to Christchurch Hospital.

"She was in a lot of pain and people stopped to ask if they could help but we just had to wait."

Tucker was discharged from hospital on Friday night and is recovering at home. She is sore and disoriented.

"It's knocked her around very badly," Tucker said.

"She's 87, but it's basically turned her into a 90-year-old."

Isabella Tucker's other daughter, Julie Paynter, was angry that the grate had been left in such a state and said she had heard of another incident where a woman broke her arm falling in the same spot.

"It's really dangerous. It's just been left like that with no warning. There's a kindergarten and a school around there, as well as lots of elderly people around."

Telecom had agreed to examine it today, Paynter said.

The manhole cover was taped off and marked with multiple road cones this afternoon.

Tucker wanted to thank all the people who had stopped to help her mother.

"They were all very kind."

The Press