A bodybuilder is facing a £14,000 legal bill after he claimed an accident left him with a fear of heights - but was later filmed riding Europe’s tallest waterslide.
Ben Bardsley, 38, from Stockport, said falling into a koi carp pond in his back garden left him with vertigo but his personal injury claim was exposed when video footage emerged of him careering down the 108ft Verti-Go in Benidorm, Spain.
Bardsley had brought a claim against Warrington Koi & Aquatics at Manchester County Court following the accident in July 2015 while the firm was digging the pond.
As he inspected the work, Bardsley was struck by the bucket of the digger and was knocked into the pond.
The gym owner subsequently claimed in medical evidence that he fell with his arms outstretched, which caused injuries to his neck and back and left him unable to lift weights.
He also said the accident had led to psychological problems and that he now had an anxiety of heights.
However, insurance firm Aviva, which acted for the pond supplier, was suspicious of the claim and instructed lawyers to investigate further.
Amid a vast array of social media posts, it was shown that Bardsley had continued to lift large weights following the accident.
One such post was even published on the day he attended a medical examination which noted “ongoing symptoms prevent him from performing activities that involved lifting”, said law firm Clyde & Co.
Mr Bardsley also posted a video of himself tackling the Verti-Go attraction at the Costa Blanca resort in which he grins at the camera and poses to show off his muscles.
He remarks “there’s no queue for obvious reasons” and shouts out to his friend filming him before he enters the slide capsule and descends at more than 62mph in just three seconds.
After he leaves the ride, he laughs with a group of children before pulling another muscles pose.
Dismissing his claim at Manchester County Court last month, Recorder Richard Hartley QC said the idea that someone going down such a slide would struggle with heights was “nonsense”.
The judge went on to say that Mr Bardsley was not straight with the medical experts or the court “and when faced with this he should have withdrawn his claim immediately”, said Clyde & Co.
He ruled that Bardsley was guilty of “fundamental dishonesty in respect of his claim” and ordered him to pay the defendant’s legal costs of £14,318.
Damian Rourke, partner with Clyde & Co, said: “It’s important to understand that Aviva never sought to argue that the claimant was not injured at all. Instead, the issue was that the claimant had exaggerated both the physical and psychological effects of his injuries to the extent that the entire claim should be dismissed.
“While the claimant damages were assessed at around £4,500, because he sought to claim approximately four to five times that amount, he lost everything.”