Judge rules in favour of Former Jockey, Freddie Tylicki in his negligence claim against Graham Gibbons
Former Jockey Freddie Tylicki, who has been left paralysed after a serious fall at Kempton, has won in his personal injury claim against fellow Flat Jockey, Graham Gibbons.
Gibbons was found guilty of ‘reckless disregard’ for his role in there fall where Tylicki was trampled by his own mount, Nellie Deen, after falling from her during the 3.20pm race at Kempton Park on 31st October 2016.
Tylicki, who has been left a permanent wheelchair user, sued Gibbons in a bid to hold him liable for the incident which occurred during the fillies’ maiden race. 39-year-old Gibbons denied riding negligently when he maneuvered his mount, Madame Butterfly, into the path of Tylicki on Nellie Deen who were running into a gap between Gibbons and the edge of the track as they turned on to the home straight.
The case was heard at the High Court in December 2021 during a five-day trial; The issue for the court was whether what happened was just a “racing incident amounting to a very unfortunate accident with tragic consequences” or whether “the actions of Mr Gibbons were such that he is liable for the injuries sustained”.
Tylicki told the court that he had shouted “Gibbo” just moments before the accident saying “it was a shout for survival, to be honest because I knew what was going to happen next”. Tylicki further stated that there was “no response” from Gibbons.
During the four-day hearing, Edward Faulks, QC, representing Tylicki, told the court that the collision was the result of an “inexcusable” piece of riding. He stated that there had been a “breach of the standard of care between the jockeys during this race which led to Tylicki’s mare, Nellie Deen colliding with Gibbons’ ride, Madame Butterfly, and the subsequent accident which ultimately led to Tylicki sustaining serious, life-changing injuries, becoming paralysed and a permanent wheelchair user”.
Gibbons denied that he attempted to block Tylicki’s progress, saying “When Freddy shouted at me I looked over my right shoulder immediately and I was surprised and shocked that there was a horse there.” During the hearing, Patrick Lawrence, QC representing Gibbons stated “if it was anything it was a momentary misjudgment coming around the bend with an ambitious move by Mr Tylicki when in hindsight he should have taken a pull”.
The presiding Judge, Karen Walden-Smith, ruled that Gibbons had a “ reckless disregard for Mr Tylicki’s safety” and stated that it was “more likely than not” that Gibbons was aware of Tylicki’s presence before the fall. The Guardian reports that the Judge stated “If Mr Gibbons was not aware of Nellie Deen’s presence he clearly should have been. He was considered to be a highly skilled and talented jockey, and a jockey, particularly riding at this very high level, both needs to be, and is, able to assess and reassess the constantly changing racing conditions, which includes the positioning of other horses that are nearby, in order to be able to adjust their own riding and tactics.”
Judge Walden-Smith decided that “Mr Gibbons knew, or at the very least ought to have known, that Mr Tylicki was inside on the rail and had moved up to within a half-length of Madame Butterfly. He exerted real pressure on the right-hand rein of Madame Butterfly in order to bring her across Nellie Deen’s racing line and did not stop bringing her in close to the rail even after the first collision. The Judge also stated that she did not feel his (Gibbons’) actions were “mere lapses or errors of judgment” and were “a course of action that carried over a number of seconds”
Tylicki, who is reported to be “delighted” released a statement after the ruling. He stated that the result “has finally provided me with closure and I look forward to putting this all behind me and moving on with my life. He also said he hopes that this judgment will act as a reminder that when competing in such a dangerous sport, there is no justification for acting with a “reckless disregard for the safety of your fellow competitors”.
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