Party guest paralysed after pool dive loses £6m damages fight


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The Independent Online

A woman paralysed from the chest down when she dived into an indoor swimming pool at a late-night party and hit her head on the bottom has lost her claim for £6m damages from the pool owner.

Kylie Grimes had claimed the owner, who was away at the time, had been negligent or breached his legal duty by failing to ban diving or lock the pool up to stop his daughter's party guests using it. The impact broke a vertebra below the base of her neck.

Mrs Justice Thirlwall ruled that David Hawkins, the owner of the home where the 2006 accident took place, was "not required to adopt a paternalistic approach to his visitors, all of whom were adults, all of whom were making choices about their behaviour that night". She said that the pool was not unsafe for diving but there was, as Ms Grimes, now 23, knew, an inherent risk in diving into water, even in purpose-built diving pools.

Despite ruling against Ms Grimes the judge expressed admiration for her behaviour at the time of the accident, which she described as being "calm, collected and sensible".

"The impact on her life of the events of that night has been catastrophic," Mrs Justice Thirwall said. "She is an impressive and courageous young woman. She conducted herself with great dignity throughout the trial."