Lisburn native Mark Pollock, a blind athlete and adventurer paralysed in a fall from a window five years ago, is suing friends for millions of pounds in damages.
Originally from Magheralave Road and now living in Dublin, Mr Pollock (39) - the first blind man to race to the South Pole - is suing Enda and Madeline Cahill over the 25-foot fall, onto the patio of their home in Henley, in which he broke his back in three places.
At the High Court, his barrister, Christopher Wilson-Smith QC, spoke of the spinal cord injury that left him wheelchair-dependent.
It was on July 2, 2010, just weeks before he was due to marry his fianceé, solicitor Simone George, that Mr Pollock fell, also sustaining a skull fracture and bleeding on the brain, while staying with his good friends the Cahills, during the Henley Royal Regatta.
He had returned home from the exclusive Leander rowing club and had gone to bed for an early night.
He told the court he didn’t remember anything about the fall but believed the most likely explanation was that he was on his way to the bathroom, was disorientated and tripped out the window.’
Mr Wilson-Smith claimed the Cahills had disregarded a “reasonably foreseeable risk’” of injury to their blind friend.
They should have made sure the window remained closed or at least warned Mr Pollock it was open, he said.
“There was no justification whatsoever to neglect such a risk,” he told Mr Justice William Davis.
Mr Wilson-Smith claimed Mrs Cahill had considered the danger of leaving the window open - but decided not to close it because it was a warm evening.
She “elected to do nothing” which was a “disastrous misjudgement”, he said.
However, the Cahills deny the accident was their fault.
Mrs Cahill told the court she was worried about Mr Pollock using the stairs up to his second-floor room, but had not thought the window posed any risk to him.
“If it had crossed my mind for an instant that there was any danger or risk, I would have insisted Mark stay in the conservatory”, she told the court.
“I wouldn’t put any guest of mine in a position where they could have an accident.”
Mrs Cahill did agree that, with hindsight, she wished she had closed the window.
The tearful 42-year-old added: “I was constantly going through in my mind if there was anything I could have done to prevent the accident.”
Mr Pollock, a well-known motivational speaker, had stayed with the couple before.
He lost his sight in 1998, at age 22, but went on to win bronze and silver medals at the 2002 Commonwealth Games.