A MOTHER and son who were inches away from being crushed by a parking barrier have lost their battle for compensation after Bexleyheath Broadway blamed the episode on the wind.

Talia Santo, aged 33, of Braeburn Park, Crayford, has for two-and-a-half years been pushing the shopping centre to fork out £250 to repair her car.

But the centre has denied liability and blamed "freak weather" for the accident in December 2011 which Ms Santo claims left her and her 13-year-old son "shocked".

The mother-of-one told News Shopper: "I was driving up and the barrier raised up.

"As I was about to drive through, it broke off its hinge and fell and hit the front of my car.

"It was literally a few inches from hitting us.

"It was quite shocking. I was absolutely livid.

"If it was a few inches further it would have smashed the windscreen."

The falling barrier dented the front bonnet of Miss Santo’s blue Peugeot 307.

She immediately reported the incident to the shopping centre's customer services department but following numerous phone calls and a letter seeking compensation she was shocked to discover the outcome.

She said: "They’ve not paid for anything and they won’t pay for anything, which is nonsense.

"They blamed it on extreme weather on the day.

"You would have thought a barrier would be able to withstand a bit of wind.

"The way they’ve handled it is really, really poor."

Broadway Shopping Centre manager Peter Sedge said: "Following our full co-operation with the investigations in to this matter, it was concluded there was no negligence on our part and that the barrier was operating within normal parameters.

"While this is an extremely unfortunate episode due to freak weather conditions, the damage caused is not something for which we are liable."