Injured groom wins compensation

By Benedict O'Connor and Liz HearnshawA FORMER groom who suffered “catastrophic injuries” following a fall on the gallops has won a £450,000 out-of-court settlement.

By Benedict O'Connor and Liz Hearnshaw

A FORMER groom who suffered “catastrophic injuries” following a fall on the gallops has won a £450,000 out-of-court settlement.

Ian Harris, who worked for former trainer Ben Hanbury, was initially completely paralysed by the accident on Newmarket Heath.

But his solicitor Mark Edmondson said the six-figure settlement would help secure Mr Harris' future now he has recovered some mobility.

The incident happened in December 2001 when Mr Harris, 61, was thrown by Mugharreb, a colt owned by Hamdan Al Maktoum.

It was alleged he had had to exercise alone and in near pitch-black conditions and sub-zero temperatures.

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Mr Edmondson said an out-of-court settlement of £450,000 plus costs had been reached with the insurers of Mr Hanbury's company Diomed Stables Ltd.

“It's very pleasing. This money will provide for him as he gets older. He and his wife need to move to a single-storey apartment and he needs a specially-adapted car and an electric wheelchair and those sort of things,” he added.

“It would be a lot more money, but for his age - which has reduced his loss of earnings. Unfortunately all anyone can do is give him money, but he would rather be able to walk.

“Mr Harris believes that the incident would not have happened if he had not been out in the dark as the horse was probably spooked by a hare or a bird, which he would have seen and probably taken little notice of in daylight conditions.”

Mr Harris was rendered tetraplegic by the accident and was initially completely paralysed from the neck down, although he has since recovered some mobility.

He can now walk short distances with the aid of walking sticks, but will never work again.

Mr Harris, of Aureole Walk, Newmarket, spent three months in Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge, and a further 10 months at Stoke Mandeville rehabilitation centre in Buckinghamshire following the accident.

He declined to comment on the settlement yesterday and Mr Hanbury, who relinquished his training licence in December, was unavailable for comment.

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