Doncaster hit-and-run victim refused service after Wetherspoons staff mistook brain injury for drunkenness

Danielle Stoton, pictured with her mum, Michelle, is home for good after leaving the rehabilitation centre. Picture: Marie Caley NDFP 21-04-15 Stoton MC 2
Danielle Stoton, pictured with her mum, Michelle, is home for good after leaving the rehabilitation centre. Picture: Marie Caley NDFP 21-04-15 Stoton MC 2

A Doncaster teenager seriously injured in a hit-and-run 18 months ago was refused service in a pub because bar staff mistook her brain injury for being drunk.

The family of Danielle Stoton, aged 19, were left outraged by the incident and are speaking out in a bid to raise awareness.

Danielle visited The Gatehouse Wetherspoons pub on Priory Walk with her mother Michelle at lunchtime on Saturday to meet a friend who had also suffered serious injuries in a car crash.

Michelle bought the first drinks at the pub but when Danielle and the young man went to the bar, they were refused service for being ‘too drunk’.

Bar staff had mistaken problems with Danielle’s speech as her having had too much to drink.

Wen Michelle sought to explain that Danielle had a head injury and show her Brain Injury ID card the group were asked to leave.

After Michelle posted the story on Facebook it was shared more than 3,300 times with over 500 messages of support from members of the public.

Michelle Stoton, 42, from Armthorpe, said: “It was a huge step for Danielle to feel able to go to a busy bar and order drinks. It was a reflection of her growing confidence and a big step in her recovery but what happened has been a nightmare and reinforced how difficult it is for her to do something as simple as ordering a drink.

“My daughter had made amazing progress and is really determined to live independently and come back stronger but this has just been a real setback for her.

“We want to make sure people know about the symptoms of brain injury and educate people as to how to help deal with them. Danielle carries an ID card from the charity Headway to show she has a brain injury and despite showing this to the bar staff we still had a problem.

“We want to make sure everyone knows about this incident so that it raises awareness of brain injury and the consequences of brain injury. Survivors of brain injury need the support of society to help them move on with their lives.”

Danielle suffered life-changing injuries in a hit-and-run in Armthorpe, Doncaster, in August 2014.

The driver responsible Sarah Livesey eventually pleaded guilty and was sentenced to eight months in prison and a two-year driving ban in May earlier this year.

Caroline Mitchell, a specialist serious injury lawyer at Irwin Mitchell representing Danielle says: “Having a brain injury can result in victims not being able to complete simple everyday tasks that others take for granted.

“It is important for their recovery that they are encouraged to relearn skills and to live as independently as possible. What has happened will be a blow to Danielle’s confidence but hopefully she will now bounce back, staff at the pub will learn from this and others will take note to prevent similar situations occurring in future.”

Wetherspoon spokesman Eddie Gershon said: “We apologise to the lady concerned. She should have been served by our staff member. This was an error and one which we wholeheartedly apologise for.

“There was no malice intended, however, on this occasion, our standards fell below what our customers expect from us.

“We will be retraining our staff in relation to this incident and will carry out a full investigation.”