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World championship-class sailor seriously injured in Northern Ireland road crash to receive £464k compensation


A world championship-class sailor seriously injured in a road crash that claimed the life of her university friend is to receive £464,000 compensation, a High Court judge ruled today.

Mr Justice Colton held that Rosie Sands' life was changed "irrevocably" by the accident near Doagh, Co Antrim in July 2012.

The 29-year-old from Exmouth in Devon had been a passenger in a car that collided head-on with an oncoming jeep and trailer.

She was staying with a friend's family in Northern Ireland and had just picked up another friend from the airport, 21-year-old Michelle Hulford.

Ms Hulford, from Luton, was fatally injured and died at the scene of the tragedy.

Three others in the car, a man, woman and young girl, were also hurt in the crash.

Ms Sands sued the driver of the oncoming vehicle, seeking damages for personal injuries, loss of earnings and the cost of care and treatment.

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With liability admitted by defendant Stephen Hamilton, the case centred on the level of compensation to award.

Ms Sands sustained multiple injuries, including to her back, abdomen and shoulder, and was diagnosed with a post-traumatic stress disorder.

She suffered from flashbacks and nightmares from what the judge described as an "horrific road traffic accident".

At the time of the crash she had been on course for a first class honours degree in Education and Religion at Bath Spa University.

She was also an accomplished sailor who had just competed in sailing World Championships and was preparing for a British Championship event due to be held in her home town.

The court heard she had progressed to gold standard level after winning with silver fleets.

But the crash left her unable to participate in the nationals at Exmouth, even though her boat and crew did compete.

Despite since returning to some limited recreational sailing, her injuries have left her unable to sail competitively.

Ms Hulford had also been planning a career in either the RAF or Navy, the court was told.

Praising her evidence in the case, Mr Justice Colton said she had been "honest, understated, stoical and admirable".

As he made a total award of £464,665, the judge held: "I came to the view that this accident has had a life-changing impact on her.

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