A woman who crashed into a stanchion on a boat during a river trip, suffering injuries to her face, has been awarded damages of £55,000.

Sinead McGlinchey, 23, was attending a surprise barbeque party with four other women in April 2008. The event included a trip on the River Bann in Northern Ireland.

On the return journey, Ms McGlinchey claimed that the pilot of the boat, Lee McCaughan, began turning the craft in circles and making waves so that the boat crossed over its own wake. She also claimed that he had laughed and told her to ‘hold on’. The boat had then suddenly lurched and she was thrown out of her seat. She crashed into part of the structure of the boat and sustained a broken nose and other facial injuries and also hurt her neck.

Ms McGlinchey has been left with scarring to her forehead and nose. Since she is a hairdresser, she is constantly reminded of the disfigurement as she sees her reflection in the mirrors in the salon where she works.

When the case came to court, Mr McCaughan claimed that the women had been swapping places despite the fact that he repeatedly told them to remain seated. He also denied having executed spins or fast turns in the boat as that would have been dangerous.

The judge, however, found the pilot’s version of events unconvincing and, on the balance of probabilities, ruled in favour of Ms McGlinchey. She was awarded £40,000 for the scarring and £15,000 for the nasal fracture and neck injury.


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