Car-crash victim Rob Ayres to receive millions in compensation
An ex-Royal Marine who was seriously injured after being struck down by a car when he stood in the middle of the road and dropped his trousers has won the right to millions of pounds in compensation.
The family of Rob Ayres, from Wigston, are suing the driver and a High Court hearing was held in London yesterday to decide how much of Mr Ayres' medical bills should be paid by the motorist.
In the accident, Mr Ayres, a former Marine, who had served two tours in Iraq, suffered devastating brain damage and faces a lifetime of serious disability.
The court said in a judgment yesterday that Mr Ayres' behaviour had been "reprehensible'' and "very foolish'', but the judge ruled the driver was 80 per cent to blame for the tragedy that left him in a coma for nine months.
Mr Ayres, then a 24-year-old trainee nurse in Leicester, had been out with friends and was in high spirits when he exposed himself to oncoming traffic in Horsefair Street, after midnight on September 27, 2008.
His girlfriend, Kim Brown, had tried to convince him to cover up.
The car hit Mr Ayres and he struck his head on the kerb. The lifetime of care he will need is expected to cost millions of pounds and numerous friends and supporters have organised charity events, including marathon runs and a benefit rugby match, to raise funds for him.
Yesterday, Mrs Justice Swift guaranteed Mr Ayres a large payout when she ruled that the driver bore the lion's share of blame for the accident.
Rejecting as "inherently implausible'' the driver's plea that his car had not touched Mr Ayres before he fell, the judge said the driver's initial account to police of a crowd of people surrounding him and urinating on his car before the accident was "wholly false''. Mr Ayres was "not acting in a hostile or threatening manner'' towards the driver or actively interfering with his car, said the judge, although she firmly rejected claims the driver had deliberately or recklessly driven into the half-naked pedestrian.
Finding the driver 80 per cent to blame, the judge said he had probably wrongly believed that, by steering slightly to his left, he could avoid Mr Ayres.
Mr Ayres' behaviour, "while reprehensible'' and "very foolish,'' had not caused the accident. However, the judge said he could not be absolved from all responsibility and found him 20 per cent to blame.
He had placed himself in danger by standing, half-clothed, in the middle of the road in front of the car and the judge added: "His drunken state and dropped trousers hampered his ability to move freely and at a normal speed out of the path of the car."
The court's ruling means Mr Ayres' payout will now be assessed on the basis of 80 per cent liability at a further court hearing, unless settlement terms are agreed before then.