EXCLUSIVE – Carpenter who suffered severe spinal injury after falling through roof at home of business guru who works with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra launches £10m High Court claim
- Andrew Sully, 41, suffered catastrophic injuries at £850,000 home of Ben Hines
- Mr Hines and his wife, Louise, are thought to dispute the liability for the accident
A carpenter has launched a £10million claim after falling through a roof at the home of a business guru who works alongside the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.
Andrew Sully, 41, suffered catastrophic injuries at the £850,000 home of Ben and Louise Hines, whose company works with the world-renowned ensemble.
Mr Sully has launched a claim in the High Court, which states Mr and Mrs Hines, both 48, failed to have proper safety measures in place while he was laying felt in a build being project managed by Mr Hines himself.
Mr Sully had finished the carpentry work he had originally been hired to carry out when Mr Hines asked him to stay behind to lay the roof felt, court papers allege.
It was then that Mr Sully placed his weight on an insecure section of roof and fell nearly 10ft through a skylight to the floor below.
The fall on July 10 2019 at sprawling Orchard House in Nailsbourne, Somerset, caused a severe spinal cord injury which meant the workman suffered months in hospital, needed a wheelchair and is unlikely to work again.
The £10m damages claim is issued against Mr Hines, founder and director of a company called Moving Performance, and his wife, who is listed as a director of the same firm.
They are understood to dispute liability.
Music graduate Mr Hines, who describes himself as a facilitator and coach, set up his company to inspire business leaders through music.
He describes Moving Performance as ‘a leadership development boutique which uniquely inspires change in organisations through the power of music’ which has ‘developed world-class offerings including Know the Score, the first leadership program to work with a globally renowned orchestra, the Royal Philharmonic’.
The claim launched by Mr Sully, through his solicitors Enable Law, states: ‘On or about 10th July 2019, the Claimant was working at the construction site.
‘Having been asked by the First Defendant to put felt and battens in place, the Claimant did so.
‘He was working on the final section of roof which required felting. That section of roof included holes for 3 large Velux windows. The Claimant felted across the holes, understanding the same to be common practice, to weatherproof the building.
‘Because the holes were covered with felt, it was not obvious where the holes were. The Claimant was attempting to batten around the rim of the windows. In doing so, he put his left hand down onto what he thought was timber at the edge of the window.
‘The timber was not directly under where the Claimant placed his hand, and the felt gave way beneath the Claimant’s hand, causing him to fall through the window space.
‘The Claimant fell over 3 metres to the floor. He landed on his head and sustained an incomplete spinal cord injury at C4/5.
‘The matters aforesaid were caused by the negligence of the Defendants.
‘After the accident, Mr Sully was airlifted to hospital at Bristol and later moved to a specialist unit in Salisbury.’
Friends launched a GoFundMe appeal, which has so far raised over £7,000 for the Sullys, who had to move house to accommodate Andrew’s needs after the accident.
In November 2019 his wife Gemma, from Taunton, updated friends on his progress.
Posting on GoFundMe, she said: ‘Andrew has now been in Salisbury for just over 9 weeks.
‘He has some movement in his arms but currently still not able to do anything for himself. We hope this will change in coming months but it’s definitely a long road ahead. Nothing for his hands yet or anything else chest down.
‘Medical wise he’s really good, breathing is better, he doesn’t seem to be out of breath talking or eating anymore. He’s battled blood clots on his lungs, UTIs etc and been put in bed rest with skin issues but every time he comes back fighting. His personality is still the same old Sully.
‘Andrew should be trialled with a chin controlled wheelchair at the end of the week so we hope that this will give him some independence and make him a bit happier.
‘It’s been an up and down roller coaster since the move to Salisbury but we are keeping positive.
‘Unfortunately our house can’t be adapted so we are having to give it up and will be moving, but absolutely no idea where as we are now in the hands of the council.
‘The writ says Andrew is “handicapped” on the open labour market because of his injuries, and is unlikely to work again.’
He and Gemma have a son and two daughters.
Mr Sully claims Mr and Mrs Hines failed to make a risk assessment, failed to provide additional training and instruction to prevent someone falling a distance likely to cause injury, failed to keep the workplace safe, and failed to appoint a competent project manager.
Mr and Mrs Hines are thought to dispute liability for the accident, and their insurer has refused to cover them, says Mr Sully, who is asking for an early trial to decide the issue of liability.
MailOnline has approached father of five Mr Hines through Moving Performance for comment.