Monday 19 March 2018

Woman who fell on Roman site 'looking for somewhere to wee' after drinking loses damages claim

A woman who fell over a wall at a Roman site after looking for somewhere to "wee" after an evening's drinking has lost her legal action for substantial damages.

Lisa Driver, a mother of two in her 40s, suffered a skull fracture which left her with epilepsy after landing at the bottom of the moat at the Roman Painted House in Dover, Kent, in the early hours of July 15 2007.

Dover Roman Painted House Trust and Dover District Council denied liability for Mrs Driver's injuries, claiming that she was a trespasser and the author of her own misfortune.

Today, Judge John Leighton Williams, at the High Court in London, said Mrs Driver was a trespasser in law and rejected her claim that the site was dangerous.

He added that, even if he had decided in her favour on liability, he would have found a higher than 50% degree of contributory negligence on her part.

Mrs Driver has no memory of the accident but her friend, Elaine Bristow, said that they were not drunk although Mrs Driver had consumed five vodka and Cokes - two at home and the rest in three different pubs.

She told the court that they went into the private car park at the closed site, while they waited for their taxi, as Mrs Driver wanted a "wee" and had been told she could not use the taxi office's facilities.

"When she went around the corner, I knew what she was going to do and I said 'you can't wee here' and we walked to the wall."

Mrs Bristow said she stopped Mrs Driver because she would get a fine if a police car came along and saw her urinating.

The Trust's counsel, Philip Williams, suggested that they had been "on the pop" that evening for six and a half hours, but Mrs Bristow said they only had single measures as doubles were too expensive.

The judge heard there had been no other accidents since the 3ft wall was built almost 40 years ago although an estimated 650,000 visitors had passed through the site during that time. The wall was in good condition, painted white and readily visible.

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