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Paraplegic athlete Justin Levene who 'dragged' himself through Luton airport drops legal challenge

Evening Standard logo Evening Standard 08/11/2018 Nick Charity

Video: Justin Levene was forced to drag himself through Luton Airport (Evening Standard)

A paraplegic athlete has dropped a legal challenge against Luton Airport after he claimed he was "forced" to drag himself along the floor of an airport.

Justin Levene, from north London, went viral after a video posted online showed him using his hands to push his body at Luton Airport after his wheelchair was lost on a flight arriving from Croatia.

He told the BBC has has dropped his legal action after the airport "improved their disabled facilities".

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A spokesman said Luton Airport has not been served with any legal papers by Mr Levene, adding that there are 10 self-propelled wheelchairs based permanently at the airport.

Mr Levene said: "If Luton now has self-propelling wheelchairs, and a loan system in case of loss or damage to a wheelchair, then I'm delighted with this outcome.

"This was never about money, it was about trying get a change in policy.

a group of people standing next to a person: justin-levene-5.jpg © Provided by Independent Digital News & Media Limited justin-levene-5.jpg

"I am happy to drop my legal claim because Luton has taken on board my concerns and improved their disabled facilities for the better."

Officials said Mr Levene was offered an assisted wheelchair and "declined all offers of help" following the incident in August 2017.

Friends of Mr Levene filmed him using his hands to drag himself through the airport after a flight from Croatia in August last year.

He had previously told the Standard he wasn't complaining over the loss of his wheelchair, but the humiliation of being "forced" to be pushed by someone else because no self-propelled wheelchairs were offered.

"What they offered me wasn't a wheelchair - these things are on shopping trolley wheels," he said.

"There is no way you can propel yourself on one, you have to be pushed on someone else, and that's what this was all about. Its humiliating to be pushed around.

"Someone who isn't aware of what it's like to use a wheelchair won't understand how important your independence is to you. It was humiliating."

Mr Levene was paralysed after damaging a spinal disc in a coughing fit and lost the ability to walk after an operation.


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