Paralysed woman sues Farnham pool owner for £6m

A woman who hit her head on the bottom of a swimming pool during a party in Surrey and was left paralysed is suing the owner for £6m at the High Court.

Kylie Grimes was injured when she dived into the pool in Farnham owned by David Hawkins in August 2006.

Philip Mott QC, for Ms Grimes, said the pool house should have been locked or there should have been warning notices.

Mr Hawkins, of Compton Way, who denies liability, said he considered the pool was safe.

The court heard he taught both his daughters to dive in the pool.

'Clearly invited'

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

The court heard Mr Hawkins and his wife were away that night.

Their daughter Katie had asked her father to let her have a few friends over but a group of about 20 came back from the pub.

She said she did not invite Ms Grimes and did not expect people to go swimming, but did not know how to stop them, so turned the lights on for their safety.

She also said no accident had ever occurred in the 30ft (9.1m) pool which had a deep end of less than 6ft (1.8m).

Mr Mott said Ms Grimes was "clearly" invited back and was lent swimming kit by Ms Hawkins.

'No legal basis'

He told the judge, who is only concerned with the issue of liability at this stage, she would have to decide where Ms Grimes dived from and how bad her dive was.

William Norris QC, for Mr Hawkins, said no sound legal basis existed on which Mr Hawkins 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".

He said: "The legal reality and practical result is that this tragedy was the result of her own choice to take the obvious risk of injury when diving into relatively shallow water."

He said other people were in the pool so the actual depth would have been apparent.

Ms Grimes was paralysed from the chest down after she broke a vertebra below the base of her neck.

The case was adjourned.

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