Eltham marine's catastrophic injuries after assault course fall

James Cobby

James Cobby

First published in News News Shopper: Photograph of the Author by , deputy news editor

The mum of an Eltham Royal Marine who suffered catastrophic head injuries when he fell from an assault course is suing the Ministry of Defence for at least £300,000.

James Cobby, 22,  needs round-the-clock care after landing on his head and chest following the fall in June 2011 while completing his training at a Devon centre.

Mum Janet Cobby, 52, said: "James was just 19-years-old when his life changed forever as a result of the head injuries he suffered. 

"The last three years have been incredibly difficult for the entire family as we have had to watch James struggle with all elements of life, when previously he was always so active and independent."

Following the fall, James was taken to Derriford Hospital in Plymouth by air ambulance, where a pressure relieving bolt was inserted into his skull. 

He spent a year in a minimally conscious state but has since undergone extensive rehabilitation which is helping him recover. He now lives in a neurological rehabilitation centre in Peterborough

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) admitted liability for Mr Cobby's injuries in February and the family's lawyers Irwin Mitchell are working towards a financial settlement to fund his rehabilitation.

Ms Cobby said: "Therapies and one-to-one contact improve his well-being and his smile lights up the room again.  

"Nothing can turn back the clock but my goal is to see James as happy and as comfortable as possible and the admission of liability from the MoD means that’s one step closer and I know he will be cared for, whatever the future holds."

Despite not completing the course due to the fall, Mr Cobby has since been awarded his Green Beret due to the determination he has shown in his rehabilitation.

His mum said: "I was so proud when he stood and had his Green Beret presented at the official Royal Marines’ ceremony in May and I could tell by the smile on his face that he loved every moment. 

"There are four qualities needed to be a Royal Marine - cheerfulness, unselfishness, determination and courage - and it was felt that James had demonstrated all of these, not only during his training, but since his accident, and his Green Beret was well-deserved. 

"All his family are immensely proud of his courage and perseverance."

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