Sales manager, 62, could win £1m after recruitment tycoon punched him

Sales manager, 62, could win £1million payout after recruitment tycoon friend punched him at work Christmas party making him ‘fall like a tree’ onto marble floor causing severe brain damage

  • Clive Bellman could get £1m damages after his lifelong friend John Major struck
  • Pair enjoyed a round of golf followed by a party at Collingtree Prk, Northampton
  • Row spilled into the Hilton Hotel where Majot punched Bellman to the ground
  • Victim smashed his head on floor suffering a shattered skull and brain injury
  • He lost High Court fight for compensation but has now won appeal battle 

A sales manager left catastrophically brain damaged when punched by his boss after an office Christmas party has triumphed in a landmark fight for compensation.

Lawyers acting for Clive Bellman say he is now due £1m damages after his lifelong friend and tycoon, John Major, laid into him, wrecking his life at the Christmas bash in Northampton.

Violence erupted as colleagues gathered in the Hilton Hotel for an early hours drink after the office party at the prestigious Collingtree Golf Club. 

Mr Bellman was punched, got up, and punched again, before he ‘went straight back like a falling tree’, slamming his head on the marble floor.

Blood then poured from his nose, ears and mouth before an ambulance was called and it was discovered he had a fractured skull and a severe traumatic brain injury. 


Clive Bellman could win £1million damages after his lifelong friend and recruitment tycoon, John Major (right) knocked him out at a Christmas party

Mr Bellman sued the company for which they both worked – Mr Major as Managing Director – Northampton Recruitment Limited. 

His claim was rejected in 2016 by a judge who ruled the company could not be held legally to blame for Mr Major’s actions.

But now three Court of Appeal judges have reversed that decision and handed Mr Bellman the right to a massive payout.


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Lady Justice Asplin said Mr Major had been ‘wearing his hat’ as the company’s MD when he slammed his fist twice into Mr Bellman’s face.

The 62-year-old sales manager, of Foster Avenue, Windsor, was attacked after hard-drinking festivities ended in chaos in December 2011.

Mr Bellman was punched in the face, got back up, but was punched again, smashing his head on the floor, with blood coming from his nose, ears and mouth.

The attack by Mr Major, who he had known since childhood, left Mr Bellman with a fractured skull and a severe traumatic brain injury.

And Judge Barry Cotter QC ruled in 2016 that Northampton Recruitment could not be blamed for Mr Major’s senseless act.

The fight happened at the prestigious Collingtree Golf Club in Northampton 

The office party had ended by the time he attacked Mr Bellman at 3am and he was no longer acting in his role as managing director.

Overturning that ruling today, Lady Justice Asplin ruled Mr Major had ‘misused his position’ as the company’s boss.

The drinking session at the hotel was ‘a very long way from being a social round of golf between colleagues,’ added the judge, who was sitting with Lords Jutice Irwin and Moylan.

‘Mr Major was purporting to exercise his authority over his subordinates and was not merely one of a group of drunken revellers whose conversation had turned to work.

‘It seems to me that the attack arose ouf of a misuse of the position entrusted to Mr Major as managing director.

‘He asserted his authority in the presence of around 50% of Northampton Recruitment’s staff and misused that authority.’

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