United Kingdom

Lawyer left with brain damage has £100,000 compensation claim thrown out as accident was 'his fault'

Carlos Reguero Perez, 49, (pictured outside Central London County Court) fell from a security gate after being trapped outside his home and then sued his letting agents Savills

A 'reckless' lawyer brain-damaged in a fall after getting locked out of his £1million rented flat has had his £100,000 compensation claim thrown out by a judge who said the accident was all his own fault.

Carlos Reguero Perez suffered spinal fractures and a 'moderate' brain injury after toppling backwards as he tried to scale locked security gates outside Prince Arthur Mews in Hampstead in February 2015.

Mr Perez, 49, who at the time was working for Santander, had been doing long hours and was 'desperate' to get inside when he attempted the climb, he told Central London County Court.

But he fell backwards whilst perched on top of the spiked six-foot gates, ending up with serious injuries, before getting back up and successfully climbing over.

He sued letting agents Savills (UK) Ltd, who were acting for his landlord at the time, claiming they should have passed on a key fob which would have opened up the newly-installed electronic gates.

But Savills insisted they had no idea the gates were about to become operational that day, and had only recently received a fob which controlled the 'vehicular' section of the gates.

Judge Heather Baucher has now cleared Savills of all blame, calling Mr Perez's exploits 'folly' and 'reckless in the extreme'.

'The accident was caused solely by his own actions. He had no regard for his own safety,' the judge said.

Carlos Reguero Perez suffered spinal fractures and a 'moderate' brain injury after toppling backwards as he tried to scale locked security gates outside Prince Arthur Mews in Hampstead (pictured) in February 2015

Mr Perez returned home at 10.30pm on February 4 to discover the gates had become operational and were closed against him.

After working 'extremely long hours' he was cold, tired and hungry and decided to clamber over the spiked pedestrian gate.

Having just done his food shopping at Tesco, he first shoved his groceries through a gap in the gate before starting his ascent.

But Judge Heather Baucher said this was 'no easy task' given the spikes and lack of a handhold on the top.

'Mr Perez took an ill-conceived reckless risk,' she told the court.

'One only has to look at the photographs to see the folly of trying to climb this gate.'

Mr Perez (pictured) returned home at 10.30pm on February 4 to discover the gates had become operational and were closed against him

He had to 'haul himself up' using the gate's vertical bars, and ended up standing on the top bar which was 'adorned by spikes'.

'Hauling himself up in that manner was reckless in the extreme,' commented Judge Baucher.

Lawyers for Mr Perez had argued that he had been left in an extreme situation by being locked out and was in effect forced to attempt the climb by his circumstances.

But the judge found that he was not acting 'in the agony of the moment' when he decided to make the climb, but simply had 'no regard for his own safety'.

Her view was 'reinforced' by what Mr Perez did next, she added, in again climbing the gate - although this time successfully.

'He was on the ground, unable to breathe with blood all over the concrete surface, and he was dazed.

'He did not try to dial 999 but rather he again tried to climb the gates.

'The accident was caused solely by his own actions,' she said.

Mr Perez had told the court he believed the spikes or 'spurs' at the top of the gate were 'decorative' and did not pose a risk to him.

But the judge said the gates were partly there as a security measure, adding: 'I don't consider the rounded spikes were merely decorative'.

Mr Perez was not facing an emergency, despite the late hour, and could always have booked into a hotel or gone to a friend's house, she said.

'He decided, rather than waiting for assistance or phoning for a taxi, to haul himself over the gates whose very design was intended to keep out strangers,' said the judge.

His reckless actions caused his own misfortunes, she found, adding that Savills owed him no legal duty of care and were not negligent.

Exonerating the estate agents she concluded: 'In light of my finding the claim is dismissed'.

During the trial the court heard that Mr Perez' head injuries have left him with blurred vision and acutely sensitive to sunlight.

He was ordered to pay Savills lawyers' bills for the case, although the judge said the debt should not be enforced without a further court order.

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