On New Year’s Day 2018, the 74-year-old grandfather, died after falling 8 feet from the steps and hitting his head on April 16, 2016.
Brian McAlister was a Brandon resident who, while walking to the loo, lost his balance. He then suffered what is known as ‘catastrophic injuries’.
He died later from paralysis after being left in a wheelchair.
His family, led by daughter Pamela Suttle, are now suing JD Wetherspoon Ltd for more than £150,000, blaming the ‘unusual design’ of the pub’s staircase for his death.
The lawyers for Ms. Suttle claim that the staircase’s unsafe design made it more probable someone would slip on the stairs and fall onto the bannister.
Brian McAlister’s relatives were represented by lawyers who claimed his death was caused by The Queen of Iceni’s stairs.
Brian McAlister was 74 years old and had been drinking at the Norwich pub when he fell. He suffered horrific injuries, which ultimately led to his untimely death just two years later.
According to the pub chain, they deny any liability and claim Mr McAlister is responsible. After consuming so much alcohol that he had to take detoxification medications afterwards.
Elizabeth-Anne Gumbel (QC, family barrister) stated that Mr McAlister fell while he was going to the bathroom on the second floor.
As can be seen in the CCTV footage available, he fell down the stairs and over the balustrade from a distance measuring 2.6m. [8.5ft]She says he fell on his head, and suffered catastrophic injuries.
“His death and subsequent injuries were due to the unsuitable design of the staircase. Lawful visitors must climb the stairs to reach the lavatory. It was also foreseeable that other lawful visitors will be drinking.
In October 2016, she said that the stairs were criticised by an environmental health committee, noting its risk to fall on pubgoers.
The report stated that someone who falls from Queen of Iceni’s stairs will be more likely to strike the handrail as it crosses the direction a person would likely travel.
Angela Suttle, Brian’s daughter, has brought the case against the Wetherspoons pub chain and hope to win £150,000 in compensation for his death
Following the accident Brian, Grandfather Brian was forced to live in a wheelchair until his death.
“The stairs were so unusually designed that the customers who first saw them would not be able to appreciate the higher risk of climbing them.
McAlister fell over to the side and landed on his forehead. He suffered a severe skull fracture, as well as devastating spinal injuries. This required extensive surgery that ultimately led him to his untimely death.
Jonathan Payne, a barrister for Wetherspoon claims the tragedy was unforeseeable and that it occurred due to a “freak set” of circumstances which had no connection with the staircase’s design.
He also claims that McAlister was drunk when he used the stairs.
He said that “the deceased was so drunk that he had to take alcohol detoxification medication.”
He stated that stairs had been used by many millions of people in 15 years.
McAlister could have fallen forwards, perhaps after fainting. He then said that his body spun as he fell. This sent him on to the rail and over it.
“It’s not true that the staircase was unsafe as stated or even at all.” He states that the staircase had been built in accordance with all building regulations.
“It seems from the evidence collected after this unfortunate event that the deceased was on a stag do and intoxicated at the time.
The deceased appeared unstable as he went up the staircase. However, he managed to get back on his feet.
“This was not an ordinary or pre-planned use of the stairs.” It was an unusual set of circumstances.
A brief hearing was held in the courtroom last week before the full trial.