Accident victim sues boy, 11, for £2m damages over pool injury

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The Independent Online

A boy and his parents are being sued by a holidaymaker who claims he was paralysed by the 11-year-old in a swimming pool in Spain.

Anthony Madigan, 47, a care worker, is claiming in legal proceedings that he has been unable to move from the neck down since he was landed on by Daniel Cooper. He is suing the boy from Nuneaton, Warwickshire, for alleged negligence, and his parents, Kevin and Carol Cooper, for allegedly failing adequately to supervise him.

Yesterday Mr Madigan's lawyer, Costas Andrea, said his client hoped to win up to £2m damages. "Anthony was a completely innocent victim and is going to suffer for the rest of his life," he said. "Nothing is ever going to turn back the clock but we hope we can make life a bit easier for him."

Mr Madigan, from Cardiff, was on a week-long holiday at the Palma Bay Club hotel in Arenal, Majorca, in August 1999 when the incident happened.

He alleges that Daniel, then aged nine, jumped or was pushed into the pool and landed on his neck. He says he took the full impact on his neck and crashed forward into the water.

After the incident, he spent a year in hospital and still needs 24-hour care. "I was in the pool less than a minute then all of a sudden I felt an impact on the neck and the next thing I realised I was face down in a pool actually drowning," Mr Madigan said. "As the impact went on my neck it shattered every nerve in my body. I was totally paralysed. A little girl set the alarm off and I got dragged out of the pool. They thought I was clinically dead.

"It does seem difficult to sue a nine-year-old boy but in consultation with my solicitor that was at that time the only way forward."

Mr Andrea said the case could go to trial at the High Court in London in July.

He said the Coopers were counter-suing the holiday firm Airtours, arguing that the travel company was responsible. An Airtours spokeswoman said: "We can confirm legal proceedings are in place but cannot comment any further."