Wiltshire

Ex-army officer hit by rock loses damages claim

An ex-Army officer who had to abandon his career after he was injured during adventurous training in the Alps has lost his High Court claim for damages.

Asa MacIntyre, of Wiltshire, a former Captain in the Royal Corps of Signals, fractured his skull when he was hit by falling rock in 2006.

He sued the Ministry of Defence (MoD) for substantial compensation, claiming it was negligent.

Mr Justice Spencer said he was not persuaded there was any breach of duty.

The MoD had denied liability and said the accident was a "tragic mishap" and such a risk could never be eliminated in mountaineering, which was inherently hazardous.

'Highly regarded'

The judge said: "Whilst I have the deepest sympathy for the claimant, who impressed me greatly in his evidence and whose forced retirement from the Army is a great loss to the country he has served so well, I conclude that this tragic accident was not caused by any negligence on the part of the defendant."

He said that Mr MacIntyre, 30, of East Knoyle, who joined the army in 2004 and was posted to Herford, Germany, after completing his training at Sandhurst, was clearly a promising and highly regarded officer.

The court heard that since the accident on the Alpspitze mountain in Bavaria in July 2006, when he was a Second Lieutenant, he had developed epilepsy and lost the hearing in his right ear.

Even so, he had achieved promotion to the rank of Captain in 2008, but was discharged on medical grounds in April 2009, with a profoundly reduced earning capacity, the judge said.

Mr MacIntyre was taking part in a day's climbing with another young officer and two senior officers when he was hit by the rock.

There was a minor rock fall and although Mr MacIntyre heeded the warning shouts of "Below!", pressing himself as close to the rock face as possible, he was struck.

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