The mother of a trainee Royal Marine who suffered catastrophic head injuries when he fell from a high-level assault course is suing for at least £300,000 in damages.
James Cobby, 22, from Eltham, needs round-the-clock care after landing on his head and chest following the fall in 2011 on the Tarzan Course at the Commando Training Centre in Lympstone, Devon.
He suffered acute brain haemorrhages and spent a year in a minimally conscious state after a pressure-relieving bolt had to be inserted into his skull. He was treated at the Royal Hospital for Neurodisability in Putney and now lives at a Neurological rehabilitation centre in Peterborough.
His mother, Janet Cobby, is suing the Ministry of Defence, which has admitted liability, for damages on her son’s behalf so that he can gain access to the lifetime of care, rehabilitation, specialist accommodation and equipment he needs. Papers have been submitted to the High Court claiming damages. They state that he will not regain his ability to walk and is totally dependent on others to maintain his safety.
Ms Cobby’s lawyers said negotiations were under way on a settlement.
“James was just 19 years old when his life changed forever as a result of the head injuries he suffered,” Ms Cobby said. “The last three years have been incredibly difficult for the entire family as we have had to watch James struggle with all elements of life, when previously he was always so active and independent.”
Her solicitors in London, said: “James has made tremendous progress thanks to specialist rehabilitation but the fact remains that he is going to need substantial care and support. We are working with the MoD to finalise a settlement that ensures James has this specialist care as well as ongoing rehabilitation and therapies that help him to live life to his full potential.”
Despite not completing his training, Marine Cobby was awarded his Green Beret in May as it was felt that his determination in his rehabilitation demonstrated everything it takes to be a Royal Marine. The ceremony took place at the Tower of London — the first time such a presentation has been held there.
A Royal Navy spokesman said: “We can confirm that the MoD has admitted liability in this case. The Naval Service continues to provide support to Marine Cobby and his family.”