Appeal For Information After Cinema Incident Leaves Disabled Man In Hospital

Legal Experts Call For Help In Fight For Justice Regarding Door Safety Concerns


Lawyers representing a vulnerable man who remains in hospital eight months after hitting his head on the frame of a disabled access door at a Teesside cinema are appealing for anyone who has faced similar problems to come forward to help them secure justice.

Ian Johnston, from Middlesbrough, needed intensive care treatment in Middlesbrough after he hit his head on the door at Showcase Cinema at Teesside Leisure Park in Stockton-on-Tees in March this year, with the incident aggravating a pre-existing neurological condition.

Serious injury lawyers at Irwin Mitchell have launched legal action on behalf of Mr Johnston against the cinema’s operator NATL Amusements (UK), with specific concerns regarding whether the disabled access door’s height of 6ft 1in meant it is adequate for safe use.

As well as asking for anyone who may have witnessed the incident or suffered similar problems at Showcase Cinema to come forward to help them with their work to secure financial support for Mr Johnston as he continues his recovery in hospital.

Ian Johnston, 64, from Acklam in Middlesbrough, was visiting the cinema with his sister Laura when the incident occurred. He suffers from chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy (CIDP), a neurological condition which leads to weakness in limbs, and as a result uses crutches to support his mobility.

He recalls: “We were leaving the cinema and due to my crutches I used the button-operated disabled access door, which is when I struck my head. I fell backwards on to the hard flooring, landing heavily on my back. Three members of staff helped me on to my feet and I returned home but I was subsequently admitted to hospital having fractured my spine in the fall”

After being admitted to James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough, Mr Johnston’s condition began to deteriorate significantly and he was then transferred to the Intensive Care Unit before being sent to the High Dependency Unit and then neurology ward in which he remains in today.

Ian adds: “I’m so frustrated by what I’ve been through as a result of the incident and I just want answers as to why the disabled access door stands at only 6ft 1in – particularly considering so many people are taller than that.

“While the damage has been done from my perspective, I also want to ensure that other vulnerable people do not face the same issues that I have.”