Woman ‘killed by shopping trolley’ at Tea Tree Plaza inquest told

Posted by Andrew McGiffert |25 Jun 12 | 0 comments

Woman ‘killed by shopping trolley’ at Tea Tree Plaza inquest told

Please note the footage provided alongside by Adelaide Now is disturbing but goes to show how easily this incident occurred.

Please do not view it if you feel bothered by the circumstances of this case.


Click here to view the ABC 7pm news report.








State Coroner Mark Johns today handed down his findings into the August 2010 death of Irmgard Polklaser, 76.

Ms Polklaser, on a shopping trip at Westfield Tea Tree Plaza with her husband Walter, died after an almost full trolley her husband was pushing up a travelator failed to lock and subsequently rolled back into them. As the trolley slipped Mr Polklaser was foced backward and fell onto his frail wife.

In his findings, ┬áState Coroner Johns said the left handed braking device of the trolley had no padding, “this is not a case of a worn braking pad – there was no worn surface, the pad was missing altogether”, he said.

“I conclude that Mrs Polklaser’s injuries were sustained as a direct result of the lack of a proper brake pad, or any brake pad, on the left-hand rear wheel of the Polklasers’ trolley.

“But for the lack of a proper or any brake pad, the accident would not have happened.”

This morning Woolworths issued a statement expressing its condolences to Ms Polklaser’s family, saying her death was a “tragedy”.

During the inquest, State Coroner Johns also considered further incidents involving trolleys and travelators at Tea Tree Plaza, finding three previous incidents involving a Woolworths trolley and one from another major supermarket. Mr Johns recommended warnings be issued to shoppers about the risks involved in travelling with trolleys on travelators and that supermarkets be reminded of the importance of properly maintaining their trolley fleet.

“The evidence in this case of the frequency of events involving trolleys is disturbing,” he said.

“It should not happen at all, and certainly not as frequently as the evidence in this case shows at one shopping centre.

“(I recommend) The Minister for Industrial Relations undertake an audit of all available CCTV footage to determine the frequency of this kind of event at all shopping centres in the state to determine if it is necessary to take action by regulation, inspection or other form of government intervention in this area.”

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