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Pool paralysis claim dismissed

A woman who launched a £6 million damages claim after being left paralysed when she hit her head on the bottom of a swimming pool during an impromptu late-night party has lost her High Court action.

Teenager Kylie Grimes was hurt in August 2006 when she dived into the indoor pool at the Surrey home of David Hawkins, managing director of a forklift truck business.

Ms Grimes, now 23, of Stephendale Road, Farnham, claimed that the tragedy was caused by Mr Hawkins's negligence or breach of his duties under the Occupiers' Liability Act.

She was left paralysed from the chest down after the force of the impact broke a vertebra below the base of her neck.

At a hearing in May, Mrs Justice Thirlwall, sitting in London, heard that Mr Hawkins and his wife were away that night but had given permission for daughter Katie, who had just left college, to have two friends over as she was not happy on her own.

Ms Hawkins told the court that she phoned her father for permission to bring three more but, in the end, a group of about 20 came back to the house from the pub.

Mr Hawkins, of Compton Way, Farnham, denied liability.

His counsel, William Norris QC, told the judge that no sound legal basis existed upon which he could be held liable for the accident which happened in an "unremarkable swimming pool on domestic premises when the claimant, an adult, chose to do something which involved an obvious risk".

Mrs Justice Thirlwall, who was only ruling on the issue of liability, dismissed the claim against Mr Hawkins.


From Belfast Telegraph