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Friday, 31 May, 2002, 10:31 GMT 11:31 UK
4m award for tractor crash victim
High Court, London
The High Court awarded 4m to pay for 24-hour care
A brilliant young sportsman disabled after a collision with a tractor has won almost 4m compensation.

Before the accident, Mark Owen, now 26, had trials for the Welsh National Junior Football Team, but he is now tetraplegic and requires round-the-clock care.
Mark Owen, accident victim
Mark Owen: Pleased with deal

He broke his spine and suffered severe head injuries when his motorbike collided with a tractor and trailer on the Cribyn to Temple Bar road in Dyfed, west Wales, in September 1996.

He sued farmer Charles Brown, of Lleddau, Cribyn, Lampeter. Mr Brown's insurers admitted 90% liability for the accident and were ordered on Friday to pay him 3,915,235 damages by High Court Judge Mr Justice Silber.

The court heard last month that Mr Owen, of Ysbryd-y-Llyn, Ciliau Aeron, Lampeter, had endured much in his struggle to come to terms with a lifetime of disability.


Literally his face had to be put back together

Cristopher Gardner QC

Cristopher Gardner QC said that as well as breaking his back in several places, Mr Owen, had also suffered a smashed lower jaw, and had his gum ripped away.

"Literally his face had to be put back together," he told the court.


Literally his face had to be put back together

Cristopher Gardner QC

He sustained chest injuries which had to be mended with titanium plates and he continues to suffer hypersensitivity and shooting pains if touched in that area.

He also suffered brain damage which has resulted in "cognitive blunting" and memory loss.

Mr Owen is also prey to painful spasms, and Mr Gardner told the court: "Not only are these spasms painful, but they are a constant reminder of his situation."

He described Mr Owen - who played rugby and badminton as well as football and was an army cadet - as "an outdoor person, someone who loved his sport".

He said he had tried to continue his sporting life from a wheelchair, applying to take part in the Spinal Games, but the severity of his injuries and a deterioration in his condition had made that impossible.

However, added Mr Gardner, Mr Owen still intended to father a family.

"He would very much like to have two children, he's always wanted children, and he doesn't believe for a moment that it won't happen," he said.


Where I Live, South West Wales
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