Paddington pub the Sussex Arms faces £96,000 bill over woman hit by falling plant pot

Paul Charalambous outside Southwark Crown Court. Picture: Central News

Paul Charalambous outside Southwark Crown Court. Picture: Central News - Credit: Kevin Dunnett/Central News

The landlord of a Paddington pub faces a bill of almost £100,000 after a woman was hit by an artificial tree which dropped on her head “like a bolt from the blue”.

Margaret Jackson, 49, spent more than two months in hospital after being struck by the 54kg plant pot, which had been knocked off a window ledge three metres above her when someone opened a hotel window above where she sat, outside the Sussex Arms in London Street in October 2010.

The crushing impact left her with a long gash in her skull, fractures to her spine and ribs, as well as damage to her lungs – which both collapsed. The painter and decorator is unlikely to ever be able to return to work.

Prosecutor Adrian Chaplin told Southwark Crown Court Ms Jackson, now cared for by her children, has since complained about feeling “mentally slow”, is still on painkillers and is depressed.

Polynikis “Paul” Charalambous, 34, manager of the business that runs the pub, admitted negligence.

Mr Chaplin said: “Perversely the defendant has been concerned about making the plant heavy enough to withstand buffeting by wind.

“The heavier they made it, of course, the greater energy it was going to impart if it fell. It was just a bolt from the blue.”

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Defending, Matthew Kerruish Jones his client was “truly sorry”.

All the plant pots have now been removed.

Sentencing, Judge Nicholas Loraine-Smith said: “It is a cruel irony that in fact there had been a notice served on the company for the windows to be altered.

“Had the company complied with that order the offence would not have happened.”

Charalambous was fined £15,000 to be paid within six months or face six months in prison, while the company received a £55,000 fine and was ordered to pay £26,561.32 in costs.