Woman with debilitating fear of public spaces ventures outside and falls down a manhole

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A woman who suffers an intense fear of being in public places fell down a manhole after making a rare trip outside her home.

Janet Faal went out with a friend last week as part of her rehabilitation from the anxiety disorder agoraphobia.

But after moving a wooden pallet to help her friend reverse she stepped into the open manhole.

Janet banged her face, broke her nose and suffered a suspected fractured leg.

Credit: SWNS

The grandmother-of-four says she has been set back 'years' in her battle with debilitating agoraphobia.

Janet, of Crawley, West Sussex, now reckons she may never leave the safety of her home again.

I was with a friend - it's hard for me to go anywhere, but I was getting better. Now I'm not so sure. I was helping her reverse out of a car park, and there was this wooden pallet in the way. I moved the pallet and took a step over - never in my life did I think there was a hole underneath, I thought it had just fallen over. The next thing I remember is the pain. It was awful.

Janet Faal
Credit: SWNS

Janet says she spent nearly an hour in pain waiting for an ambulance.

I had moved the pallet out of the way with my foot and I was going to turn around to my friend say 'is that far enough?' But the next thing I knew, I fell and smashed my face on the pallet, and I was in the hole with blood all over me and I couldn't move.

Janet Faal

Concerned son Andy MacDonald, 39, a painter and decorator, said:

I'm absolutely livid. Whoever owns that manhole should get it fixed and get it fixed right now. It's ruined my mother's recovery. I can't believe it. Whoever owns that manhole has something serious to answer for. I'm self-employed, and I have to take time off work to care for my disabled mum, who has been knocked for six by negligence. If she was smaller she would have gone all of the way down - a slender woman or child could have been very seriously hurt.

Andy MacDonald

When the call came in, with the information provided by the caller, it was classified as a 'class C' call. We always do our best to back up the first paramedic as soon as we can but life-threatening calls have to take priority.

South East Coast Ambulance Service