17 October, 2017
Spencer v BB & B Leisure Parks Limited
Leicester CC - HHJ McKenna
The Claimant sought damages from the Defendant after injuring her back on a slide. The Claimant had attended the Defendant's premises in October 2013 to engage in a themed night known as "Fright Night". The experience involved walking through haunted mazes and houses whilst actors in fancy dress would scare and entertain the participants.
The Claimant's accident took place in the punishment section, in the Black Knight Castle. The participants were met by an actor host and a hood was placed over their heads. The Claimant and other participants entered the castle in groups. They held a blue rope and were guided around. They then reached the Astra slide. Their hoods were removed so that they could slide down back to the ground level. As the Claimant attempted to step onto the slide, the mat underneath her right foot moved causing her to lose her balance and fall backwards.
The issue at trial was whether the Defendant was responsible for the accident and the resulting injury? The Claimant contended that it was a foreseeable risk and that warning and assistance should have been provided.
The Judge did not accept the Claimant submissions and found that it was a genuine accident. The Judge found that it was obvious that the mat on the slide was there to assist the Claimant and it is something that both adults and children managed at the park daily without difficulty, assistance or warning.
The Judge also rejected the Claimant's assertions that her accident could be differentiated as she had been hooded and was not aware of her surroundings.
The claim was dismissed.
An occupier has a duty to take reasonable care to guard against foreseeable risks. The slide was found to be hazard free and was regularly used by young children without assistance. Despite the slightly unusual circumstances, it did not alter the position that the Claimant was the author of her own misfortune when she simply lost her footing on the slide.