Tuesday, 25 September 2012


A rower left "traumatised" when she was injured by a 49-foot barge while trialling for Team GB is suing for compensation at London's High Court.
Rachel Barnes, 32, was forced to leap from her racing skiff into the river when the bows of a narrow boat slewed on top of her, near Caversham Bridge. The Reading website designer, who suffered injuries to her neck and ribs, was at her regular morning training session.
But barrister Christopher Taylor told the court the collision dashed her dreams of qualifying for the Lightweight Women's squad at the Commonwealth Rowing Regatta as she "lost her confidence and she stopped enjoying rowing".
The Reading University Boat Club rower is suing for physical and psychiatric injuries, and the damage to her skiff, written off by the smash in May 2010 She seeks damages from insurers of the "Snow Bunting" barge, which had been chartered out to Graham and Louise Ranshaw.
Barrister Mr Taylor told the court Mrs Barnes was crossing the River Thames and checking over her shoulder that the route was clear. But that she was caught off guard by a "rogue boat", which had strayed onto her side of the river, and only glimpsed the barge as it suddenly converged over her. He added: "She was in the right channel and Snow Bunting was in the wrong channel. She did all she possibly could."
But defence barrister, James Watthey, insisted Snow Bunting was on the right side of the river and that Mrs Barnes cut "blindly" across the water. He said Mr Radshaw tried to avoid an accident and assumed Mrs Barnes would "pass quite easily" - until her sudden "spin" across river.
Admiralty Registrar, Jervis Kay QC, has reserved his decision on Mrs Barnes' damages claim until a later date.

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