Anger as ceiling in Portsmouth house caves in and knocks man out

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PART of a ceiling collapsed in a housing authority-owned home, knocking a man unconscious.

Gemma Butcher and her three children live in two-storey house in Newcomen Road, Stamshaw, owned by First Wessex.

Joe Doyle and Gemma Butcher beneath the collapsed ceiling

Joe Doyle and Gemma Butcher beneath the collapsed ceiling

Her friend Joe Doyle was visiting when the ceiling collapsed on his head.

Ms Butcher, 28, said a surveyor inspected the ceiling eight weeks ago after she noticed a crack and advised that it and the toilet in the bathroom above would have to be replaced.

She said nothing was done until three weeks ago when the ceiling started leaking.

The housing authority fixed the leak but the structural problem remained.

The roof eventually caved in when Ms Butcher’s friend, Joe Doyle, 25, was walking underneath.

The collapse knocked him unconscious and he had to be taken to hospital.

Ms Butcher said: ‘I was really shocked when I got home and saw that.

‘The baby was screaming her head off and Joe was lying on the floor.’

Ms Butcher said it was unacceptable that First Wessex had allowed the collapse to happen.

She said: ‘It’s disgusting. It’s pretty wrong.

‘They should have moved us out before this happened.’

Mr Doyle said: ‘It hit me on the head and I slipped over on the floor and then after that I don’t remember what happened.

‘It’s disgusting – it could have been my little girl.

‘For me to be injured for them to do anything about it is not good enough.’

Mr Doyle said he was still suffering from lower back pain because of the incident.

First Wessex has since agreed to fix the ceiling.

Chief executive Peter Walters said an investigation into the incident was under way.

He said: ‘We take incidents of this nature very seriously as the safety of residents and those in our properties are our priority.

‘It is not entirely clear at this time how this could have happened and we are sorry for any distress this has caused to Ms Butcher.

‘We are working closely with her and other local agencies to ensure the well-being of those involved is looked after.’