A football fan horrifically injured when a train ran over his legs after he fell off a station platform is now battling for more than £1m in compensation.
Preston firefighter, Ian Whiting, lost his left leg below the knee in the tragedy at Chorley Station seven years ago.
He and his friends had gone to watch Manchester City play, and were returning home when Mr Whiting toppled onto the tracks. In a bitter twist, disaster struck on his wife’s birthday - she having agreed to let him go and watch the game.
He ended up between two carriages, suffering devastating injuries when a train set off from a platform and rolled over his legs.
Mr Whiting, 44, is now suing train operators First/Keolis Transpennine Express Ltd over the accident. He claims the train’s guard should have spotted him moving towards the platform edge, and halted its departure in time to avert disaster.
In February last year Judge Alan Gore QC rejected his damages claim, clearing the guard and train operators of all blame. The judge expressed his admiration for the “fortitude” shown by Mr Whiting in the years since his accident.
But he said the veteran fireman was “severely incapacitated by drink - and unsteady on his feet” when he fell.
“But he was not so drunk as to be incapable of standing up or walking,” he added.
The guard had been watching the platform vigilantly before giving the green light to set off, the judge ruled.
He had spotted Mr Whiting leaning against a wall some distance from the tracks, and had no idea that he would lurch forward. But he realised Mr Whiting was drunk and “presented a danger”.
Mr Whiting, of Euxton, was in a coma following the accident, which resulted in a below-knee amputation of his left leg and the loss of toes on his right foot.
Now, in a final bid to win compensation for his injuries, he is challenging Judge Gore’s ruling at the Court of Appeal, in London. Mr Whiting, who appeared in court using a crutch, has battled hard to tackle his disabilities, having initially used a wheelchair.
At trial, the court heard he had downed five pints and four cans of Guinness, a shot of spirits and some Cava wine.
Station CCTV footage showed him holding the Cava bottle as he arrived on the platform. But his QC, Susan Rodway, pointed to expert evidence that the guard would have spotted Mr Whiting had he been keeping a careful watch from his window. Lady Justice Gloster and Mr Justice Hickinbottom have now reserved judgment on Mr Whiting’s appeal and will give their ruling at a later date.
Mr Whiting was a respected member of the White Watch firefighting team in Preston at the time of the accident.
He was busy renovating his home when tragedy intervened and colleagues stepped in to complete the work.