Family sue school after son’s Nativity sheep costume catches fire

London Fire Brigade tackling church blaze at St John's Wood

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A 10-year-old boy suffered serious injuries after his Nativity sheep outfit caught fire and went up in flames during a carol service. His family is seeking compensation of more than £1 million from the school. The boy and his family are pursuing legal action against St Thomas Becket Catholic Primary School in Croydon, South London.

The incident happened at Christmas three years ago when the boy, then aged 7, was dressed in a sheep’s costume made of cotton wool balls.

Another child who was holding a lit candle in a plastic cup, tripped and the naked flame set fire to the outfit.

Headteacher Noel Campbell and a woman bystander immediately rushed to pat him down to douse the flames.

The child was then airlifted to the hospital, however, he suffered catastrophic burns covering 45 per cent of his body, including his neck, face, body and arms.

The High Court claim said that the boy suffered the injuires during the carol concert and nativity presentation at Our Lady of the Annunciation Church in Croydon.

During the incident, both Mr Campbell and a woman who tried to help also injured.

The parents of the boy, who were sitting in the audience, suffered psychiatric injuries as a result of witnessing the horrific incident.

The boy’s father has claimed more than £100,000 while his mother has asked for more than £50,000 for their personal injuries.

The family is also seeking provisional damages for their son, allowing them to return to court to seek more money if his condition deteriorates and he develops skeletal or joint deformity, and infection of scar tissue, either spontaneously or caused by surgery.

All three are also seeking damages for future disadvantage on the open labour market.

Procedural judge Master Brown granted an anonymity order protecting their identity which means neither the boy, nor his parents can be identified.

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The boy had lined up with about 20 other year 3 children in the corridor near the stage, with each child holding lit candles in plastic cups, the court was told.

At the time, London Fire Brigade’s assistant commissioner for fire safety Dan Daly said: “This horrific accident is a stark reminder of the risk real candles can pose.

“They are a completely unnecessary hazard when it comes to children and school plays.

“Sadly this isn’t the first time we have seen clothing and costumes set alight by candles and people need to recognise the risk and prevent these incidents from happening again.”

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