Surrey facelift woman Penny Johnson awarded £6m damages

Penny Johnson
Image caption Penny Johnson said the stress of the court case made her condition worse

A woman has won more than £6m in damages against a plastic surgeon who she said "played God" with her life.

Penny Johnson, from Godstone, Surrey, brought the High Court case against Le Roux Fourie who she said carried out "experimental surgery" in 2003.

The businesswoman said she suffered nerve damage in a facelift, which led to her financial and IT consultancy business going into administration.

Mr Fourie admitted liability but denied the surgery in Leeds was experimental.

At the High Court, sitting in London, Mrs Johnson asked Mr Justice Owen to award her a proportion of the £54m she said was her potential loss, as a 50% shareholder, when Bishop Cavanagh Ltd failed in 2009.

She said the stress of the litigation had made her condition worse.

The judge gave his ruling in the case on Monday, awarding her £6,190,884.92.

During the hearing, Mrs Johnson said her face was constantly contracting as a result of the operation carried out at Bupa Methley Park Hospital in Leeds.

Lost earnings

"I don't sleep and I have a permanent buzzing around my eye which can be so intense that I can't think about anything," she said.

Alain Choo Choy, QC for Mr Fourie said his client put the potential business loss at only £9m.

During her absence, the company was managed by her husband, Peter, with whom she now owns another business, BC Direct.

The bulk of the damages award relates to lost earnings, both past and future.

In his ruling, the judge said Mrs Johnson was formerly a confident, happy and outstandingly successful woman.

'Different person'

The negligent surgery had serious physical and psychological consequences, resulting in anxiety and depression and had affected her marriage.

As well as injuries to her face, Mrs Johnson suffered pain from the replacement of pre-existing breast implants which was carried out at the same time as the facelift.

"Their marriage has survived; but the claimant said in evidence that she is no longer a wife to her husband," the judge said.

"He says that she is now a completely different person and that their marriage is not what it used to be.

"They no longer go out together as they used regularly to do, and have become detached from the close knit group of friends whose company they used to enjoy."

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