Model and fashion designer Hector Maclean is suing London’s renowned Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA), after he fell more than 20 feet into an unmarked elevator shaft at one of the school’s buildings last year. The horrific accident shattered both his legs and destroyed his career.
Maclean, who previously worked with fashion brand Beulah and helped on collections worn by Kate Middleton and her sister Pippa, fell after leaning on a set of unsecured metal double doors to the elevator shaft at a RADA property in Camden in March 2014. According to Britain’s the Telegraph, the Westminster Magistrates Court fined the RADA school £12,000 ($18,884) on Wednesday, for breaching health and safety regulations, and also ordered the school to pay £1,266 in costs.
RADA lawyer Nathan Buckley told the court that failing to secure the doors was a "tragic oversight" that created a "risk of death." Buckley added it was a “mystery” how Maclean had fallen into the shaft because the doors were “always locked,” but mentioned that a motorcycle crash outside the building could have shaken the doors loose and contributed to the accident.
District Judge Jeremy Coleman said it was clear that Maclean did not contribute to the accident, the Mirror UK reported. Coleman added: “The unfortunate Mr. Maclean sustained serious injuries from which he seems to be making a slow but hopefully full recovery. ... All that he did was lean against an unmarked door. As a result he fell through these doors into an empty lift shaft, falling some 24 feet. The fact is that the doors didn't work and that is the bottom line here, frankly."
On Wednesday, Maclean told London’s Evening Standard about his horrible experience. “I thought I was going to die. I hit the ground and I was in excruciating pain. It was terrifying. I was alone in the dark and crying out for help but no one could hear me. I rang for an ambulance and it took 30 minutes for them to find me.”
Maclean said the accident destroyed his modeling career and it’s unsure whether he’ll be able to return to the catwalk. He pulled out of a masters in fashion design program at Central Saint Martins and placed his promising design career on hold, as he battled through months of corrective surgery and rehabilitation. According to the model's legal retainer, Maclean is now preparing a claim to sue RADA for damages.