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Ipswich man wins fall compensation

PUBLISHED: 22:17 26 October 2001 | UPDATED: 10:45 03 March 2010

AN IPSWICH man struck totally blind after falling 25ft in a horrific workplace accident has today won the right to a compensation payout worth hundreds of thousands of pounds.

AN IPSWICH man struck totally blind after falling 25ft in a horrific workplace accident has today won the right to a compensation payout worth hundreds of thousands of pounds.

Former security guard Robert Bailey, of Thistle Close, was 22 years old and working at a clothing warehouse when he plummeted down a disused lift shaft in January 1998.

He was left fighting for life after suffering massive injuries including a fractured skull and breaking every bone in his face. Later, he was diagnosed with "total cortical blindness" from which he is very unlikely ever to recover after landing on the hard concrete floor.

When the accident happened in Milton Keynes on January 6, his mother Janet was told the awful news that he had only 12 hours to live. At best doctors feared that horrendous brain damage he had incurred in the accident would leave him unable to communicate.

But following extensive surgery during his eight-month stay in hospital, he has amazed medical staff and his family with a remarkable recovery, although he still receives 24-hours care.

On the night his life was to change for ever, Mr Bailey was on his final patrol in a 100,000 sq ft building at Mount Farm when he strayed through a gap between a guard rail and lift housing and stepped into space.

At London's High Court yesterday Deputy High Court Judge Jeffrey Burke QC was shown chilling closed circuit television footage of Mr Bailey's movements in the moments before the near-fatal fall.

The judge ruled that both his then employers, London-based Command Security Services Ltd and US clothing giants TXJ Incorporated (USA) had been negligent.

He rejected claims that Mr Bailey had been entirely the author of his own misfortune but accepted that he was 25 per cent responsible for the accident.

He ruled that they must now pay one-third of the damages due to Mr Bailey and TJX Incorporated two-thirds.

Mr Bailey was claiming in total well over a million pounds damages for his devastating injuries so, even after a 25 per cent reduction, he will still be entitled to thousands of pounds.

If final settlement terms are not agreed in the meantime, the exact amount of his damages will have to be assessed at another court hearing.

Speaking today after the hearing – which Mr Bailey did not attend – his mother Janet declined to comment, saying only: "We have had enough."

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