Hedge End native Joan Dufosse, seventy three years of age, had been in attendance in Oxford Street’s Selfridges store in order to take her two granddaughters to visit Santa at his grotto when the incident occurred. However, the elderly pensioner fell to the floor after tripping over a stray ornament that had fallen from a Christmas tree nearby while she and her granddaughters were preparing to have their photograph taken.
Suffering a fractured thigh in her tumble, Mrs Dufosse was rushed to hospital in order to undergo a major surgical procedure, inserting a plate and several screws into her leg in order to repair the damage. In the wake of the incident, the injured seventy three year old has launched a personal injury compensation claim against those responsible for the grotto, Melbry Events Ltd, an event management company.
However, after a Southampton County court hearing where the judge heard evidence presented by both Santa and one of his elves, Mrs Dufosse’s claim was denied because the visibility of the fallen ornament had been obscured. The judge said that there could have been no expectation of grotto staff to remove the ornament in such a case.
The injured grandmother and her legal team entered an appeal in London’s Civil Appeal Court, where judges overturned the prior decision, stating that Mrs Dufosse’s injuries were indeed as a result of negligence on the part of the operators of the grotto. While the grandmother of two will be receiving compensation for her injuries, the exact sum has not yet been determined, though experts say it could be as much as £30,000.