Dressage rider sues for £300,000 after car accident

  • A dressage rider whose legs were crushed in a car accident has launched a legal battle for more than £300,000 in compensation to pay for his ongoing treatment.

    Sonnar Murray-Brown, now aged 23, was based at Jennie Loriston-Clarke’s Catherston Stud and had hoped to be picked for the British young rider dressage team when the road accident occurred on 26 January 2009.

    He told H&H: “I have had nine operations on my legs in two-and-a-half years. All we want at the moment is money for my surgery and rehabilitation, not full compensation.

    “It has cost a great deal of money and my parents have had to fund it all so far.”

    Sonnar, of Chidham, West Sussex, is claiming unlimited damages from Lee Harris of Blandford Forum, Dorset, who was driving the vehicle in which Sonnar was a passenger.

    Mr Harris was later convicted of driving without due care and attention. The writ lodged with the High Court in London claims that he was driving too fast and lost control, crashing into another car.

    Sonnar’s right thigh and knee were shattered and his left thigh was also injured, but has now healed.

    Two years on he is still on crutches and his right leg has an external fixator bolted into it to keep it straight.

    “It is unlikely that I shall be able to ride at the top level again, but I have not lost faith,” said Sonnar. “I still have three young horses which my parents are taking care of for me and I get to see my old pony and my father’s horse.

    “And still I have my best horse, Tornado — though he is with [new rider] Sorrell Klatzko.”

    The weekend before the crash Sonnar had won the young rider team test at the Addington High Profile Show on Catherston Liberator.

    And in 2008 he won the elementary restricted winter championships with a plus-70% score on Tornado.

    A date has not yet been set for the hearing.

    This news story was first published in the current issue of Horse & Hound (1 September, 2011)

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