London - A woman was left paralysed after being ‘catapulted’ from a new bed during a sex session, the High Court heard yesterday.
Claire Busby suffered a serious spine injury when she bounced from the super king-size divan as she shifted her love-making position, the court was told.
The 46-year-old mother of four, who appeared in court in a wheelchair, claims the bed was in a ‘defective state’ at the time of her accident and is seeking seven-figure damages from supplier the Berkshire Bed Company, trading as Beds Are Uzzz.
Judge Barry Cotter QC was told the ‘central issue’ in the case was whether there were defects with the bed and whether Miss Busby’s ‘tragic injuries’ were caused or contributed to by them.
The firm denies liability. The court heard the bed was one of five delivered to her home in August 2013 when she was renovating the property.
Miss Busby, who used to work in the property industry, was injured a week after the bed’s delivery while having sex with her partner John Marshall.
She told the court she was kneeling in the middle of the bed performing a sex act when she decided to move position and ‘swung her legs’ from underneath her, before laying back on the bed. At that point, she claims, the bed gave way and she toppled off the end, landing on her head. She said: ‘I spun around, I put my hand down and then I felt like I was catapulted off the back of the bed.
‘My head hit the floor, I fell to the side and I heard like a spring in my body snap.’
Her sister, Natalie Busby, told the court that when she went to the property after the accident she noticed there were ‘two feet’ missing from the bed. She said they did not discuss the matter until much later because Miss Busby was in such poor health.
‘Claire wasn’t in any fit state to be having a conversation,’ she said. ‘At one point she had two heart attacks in 24 hours. It was touch and go whether she was going to make it.’
Miss Busby, from Maidenhead, Berkshire, alleges the two divans that made up the base of the bed were not properly fastened together and two ‘gliders’ – or feet – were missing from one end, creating a height difference.
Her barrister Winston Hunter QC said she expected the mattress to support her weight as she lay back on the bed, but that it failed to and she continued moving ‘backwards and downwards’.
He told the court: ‘The point at which she left the bed is precisely the location where the different height of the two divans was at its maximum. It represented the area where the mattress was most likely to “fall away” as it was partially unsupported.’
Mr Hunter, who claimed the height difference was around 40mm, said it was ‘accepted that the particular circumstances of the accident are unusual’, but it was enough for there to have been ‘some foresight of some loss of balance in the use of the bed’ for the firm to be found liable. Lawyers for the bed company argue it was properly assembled at the time of delivery and that, even if the two gliders were missing, that would not have caused the accident in the way suggested by Miss Busby.
Neil Block QC, for the firm, said: ‘It is overwhelmingly likely that, whatever her actions, they were too close to the edge of the bed and she simply lost balance and toppled backwards.’