Santa and his elf failed to keep grotto safe

Negligence on behalf of Santa and one of his elves caused a 73 year old grandmother to fall and fracture her thigh during her visit to his grotto at Selfridges.

The incident, which led to a lengthy personal injury compensation case, happened in November 2009. Mrs Dufosse had taken her two grandchildren to see Father Christmas at the Oxford Street store. The three family members were having their photo taken when the grandmother stepped on a plastic icicle, which had fallen from the Christmas tree, causing her to fall.

She suffered a fractured left thigh and surgery was required to insert a plate and screw in her leg. Mrs Dufosse has still not made a full recovery even though the accident happened more than two years ago.

The victim lodged a personal injury claim against Melbry Events Ltd, the firm that ran the grotto, but it was thrown out by Southampton county court earlier this year. The judge presiding over the case decided that the decoration had been hidden from view and therefore Santa and his elf should not have been required to remove it.

With the aid of her personal injury solicitor, Mrs Dufosse lodged an appeal, and earlier this month the appeal court judges reversed the original decision. It is thought she could receive compensation of up to £30,000, although the exact sum is still to be agreed.

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