Holidaymaker speared by parasol wins compensation battle

A British holidaymaker who was speared through the eye by a flying parasol at a Canary Islands hotel is set for millions of pounds in compensation following an Appeal Court ruling.

Godfrey Keefe, 52, from Gateshead, and his family were staying at the Bahia Principe Costa Hotel, in Tenerife, when the incident happened on October 26, 2006.

He was sitting beside the swimming pool when an unsecured parasol was blown into his face by a gust of wind.

Lady Justice Gloster said: “The spike of the parasol penetrated his right eye socket and into his brain, causing him very serious injuries.”

The judge told London’s Appeal Court that Mr Keefe’s legal team has valued his damages claim at more than £5 million, The Telegraph reported.

Mr Keefe was a director of a civil engineering firm at the time, but his lawyers say he is now permanently unfit for work.

He needed emergency surgery to remove the parasol spike and has needed repeated operations since.

Registered partially sighted, his personality has been changed forever and he will need an intensive care regime throughout his life.

However, his case became bogged down in legal problems when the hotel’s Spanish owners insisted he was not entitled to sue them in England.

Hoteles Pinero Canarias SL said he would have to seek justice in Spain – where his damages award would be limited to less than £600,000.

However, Lady Justice Gloster, sitting with Lady Justice Black and Lord Justice Moore-Bick, supported Mr Keefe.

They ruled that, under European law, he is entitled to sue both the hotel owners and their Spanish insurers in an English court.

There were ‘powerful policy reasons’ why Mr Keefe should be allowed to fight his case before an English judge, the judges ruled.

The court heard that judgment in his favour has already been entered against the hotel’s insurers.

The amount of damages due to Mr Keefe, of Low Fell, Gateshead, will be assessed at a later date.

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