A former Territorial Army soldier has been awarded compensation believed to be worth more than £200,000 after falling off a wall at a wedding reception.
Paul Mills was attending a friend's marriage at the Tors Hotel in Lynmouth, Devon, in 2004 when he plunged 30ft over the wall that was protected by a railing 2ft 6in high.
The 32- year- old, from Chelmsley Wood, Solihull, was seriously injured. He sustained a fractured skull, was left unable to walk, talk or write and later developed epilepsy.
A damages hearing had been listed for trial, but the case was settled out-of-court.
The hotel admitted liability and the compensation will be paid into a trust fund by their insurers, Mr Mills' solicitor, Tim Beasley, said.
Mr Mills, a former sergeant with 131 Commando Engineers, had been a keen marathon runner and tri-athlete until the fall and was considering a career in the regular army or taking up a managerial job with Birmingham City Council. He was also looking to settle down with his thengirlfriend and start a family.
"After the fall it was all gone," he said. "I had to learn to walk and talk all over again. It was like being a baby in a man's body. I went from being treated with admiration and respect to being regarded as an imbecile."
Although he has fought back to physical fitness, enabling him to run marathons again to raise money for disabled charities, he has split up with his girlfriend and is still looking for work.
Mr Beasley, from law firm Levenes, said: "He is a true fighter whose grit and determination to rebuild his life without rancour or self pity has impressed all of us."