Airport chef disgraced after £2,200,000 claim thrown out by Oxford Crown Court

Alex South

Alex South


Chef Ferenc Sumegi has had his £2.2mn compensation claim chucked after he was picture kayaking with his children on Facebook.

Ferenc who worked as a chef at Heathrow Airport claimed he was barely able to walk after allegedly straining his back lifting a fish tray.

The chef, aged 49, told his employer he had to use a stick or crutches to walk and was forced to spend up 18 hours a day lying down.

Ferenc tried to sue airport caterer Gate Gourmet UK Ltd, his former employer, for compensation for injury and the loss of his career.

After his claim was dismissed, Ferenc is now facing a £75,000 legal bill after photos of him and his family kayaking were spotted on the social media site.

Other photos documented Ferenc fishing, paddle boarding, carrying his children on his shoulders and ‘vigorously’ throwing a stick for a dog.

Video surveillance also showed him walking unaided, filling up his car with petrol and shopping without ‘any discernible difficulty’.

A judge at Oxford Crown Court said his claim was 'fundamentally dishonest’ in November last year – a ruling now upheld by the High Court.

Ferenc also claimed the injury stopped him from running, kneeling, squatting or taking his children to the park.

He took time off to recover before returning to work but later said he had to quit due to his ‘significant and continuing’ disabilities.

Sumegi said in a statement: "If I have to stand for too long then the pain in my back would be unbearable. There is no way I could go back to work as a chef."

Lawyers representing Gate Gourmet accepted the chef suffered a genuine injury but insisted the symptoms should have cleared within 14 months.

They said his claim was worth around £5,000, suggesting £2.2million was ‘grossly inflated’ and ‘fundamentally dishonest’.

Sumegi tried to blame his partner for ‘only posting positive photos’ on Facebook, insisting he had good and bad days.

He tried to challenge the Oxford Crown Court ruling by Judge Melissa Clarke at the High Court last week – insisting he was ‘not a liar’.

But Mrs Justice Yip denied him permission to appeal, describing the original ruling as a ‘model of fairness’.

There was ‘no prospect of an appeal being successful,’ she said.

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Alex South

Alex South

Editor 2nd February 2023

Airport chef disgraced after £2,200,000 claim thrown out by Oxford Crown Court