Wife awarded $2m over car park horror

A woman who watched her husband reverse their car over the edge of a second-storey parking lot and plummet to his death has been awarded more than $2 million in damages.

Michelle Lee and her 34-year-old husband Thomas Lee were heading out for a family dinner in Haymarket in Sydney on March 5, 2006.

But the evening turned to horror when Mr Lee adjusted the car's position on the second level of a multi-storey car park owned by the Carlton Crest Hotel.

A metal barrier disintegrated and the car went over the edge.

"(Ms Lee) heard the engine rev and saw the car reverse towards a metal railing that was the perimeter barrier for that part of the car park," Justice Robert Beech-Jones said.

Michelle Lee watched her husband reverse their car over the edge of the second-storey parking lot in Sydney. Photo: 7News

"To her horror the barrier disintegrated and the car fell off the edge.

"She rushed to the ground floor.

"She found her husband fatally injured. He never regained consciousness and was later pronounced dead."

Ms Lee's life was irrevocably altered, the judge said, and she has now sued for "nervous shock".

"As a result of her husband's death Ms Lee has suffered an almost complete psychological collapse affecting every part of her life, including her promising career as a speech pathologist," Justice Beech-Jones said.

Thomas Lee, 34, died after his car when through a metal barrier on the second level of a multi-story car park owned by the Carlton Crest Hotel. Photo: 7News

"It follows from my findings that her damages will be substantial."

The judge found the hotel was negligent, in part because a wheel stop in the parking space was not properly affixed to the carpark floor, and "did not provide the tactile resistance that Mr Lee was expecting" when he accelerated back into the parking space.

He also described the perimeter railing that Mr Lee crashed through as "grossly inadequate".

The second-storey parking lot where Thomas Lee plummeted to his death. Photos: 7News

Ms Lee, in a statement to police in the aftermath of the accident, said the barrier did nothing to slow her husband's fatal descent.

"The car just went straight through it. I saw the car flip, but I don't know how many times," she said.

Justice Beech-Jones also found the City of Sydney, which inspected and certified the building, was negligent.

Justice Beech-Jones on Thursday awarded Ms Lee just over $2.6 million in damages during a brief NSW Supreme Court hearing.

Detectives on the scene of the horrific crash on March 5, 2006. Photo: 7News

The payment will be split, with 75 per cent paid by the parking station operator and the rest by the City of Sydney.

The parties will return to the court on November 6 to argue costs.

Justice Beech-Jones said during an earlier hearing Ms Lee was owed "substantial" damages.

News break - October 30