A GRANDFATHER whose working life was ended by a devastating fall while taking an evening walk along a North-East beach has lost an Appeal Court bid for compensation.

Donald Kincaid had gone to the region to attend his uncle's funeral when he took a stroll along the beach near his aunt's home on Hartlepool's West View Estate. But he failed to notice a sewage outfall which, although covered by drifting sand on one side, had a sheer drop on the other.

He suffered a shattered right ankle which put paid to his work as a steel fixer and has left him disabled.

Mr Kincaid, 53, from Milton Keynes, sued Hartlepool Borough Council, as "occupier" of the beach, and Northumbrian Water, as owners of the outfall, for up to £100,000 damages.

But two judges at London's Civil Appeal Court yesterday cleared both defendants of all blame for the accident, with the result that Mr Kincaid will not receive compensation.

Lord Justice Henry said the outfall had been built in 1971 and there had not been a single mishap or complaint about it until Mr Kincaid suffered his accident in March 1995.

To fence off or guard the outfall would have both impracticable, due to the nature of the shifting sands, and "disproportionate" given the low level of risk, he ruled.

Dismissing Mr Kincaid's claim, Lord Justice Henry said: "While I have sympathy for him, this was in reality a pure accident and not the fault of either of the defendants."