January 20, 2022


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34ECC76F00000578-3625583-image-m-17_1465079742877Ever wondered how David Copperfield does it? Stooge who claims he was left brain-damaged in bungled vanishing trick reveals magician’s secret techniques in sensational three-year legal battle


London-born chef Gavin Cox, 55, was called on stage by David Copperfield
But he fell backstage after taking part in an illusion with inflatable balls
Mr Cox said he was left permanently brain damaged as a result
Copperfield’s lawyers denied Mr Cox’s allegations and say the illusion has been safely performed for 15 years involving 100,000 participants

It should have been the magical highlight of a holiday of a lifetime.
Having flown to Las Vegas with his wife to celebrate his birthday, Gavin Cox was excited to get the hottest ticket in town, to see David Copperfield at the MGM Hotel and Casino.
Mr Cox and his wife Minh were braced for an evening of dazzling entertainment from the world’s most famous magician, whose tricks are a closely guarded secret and have brought him a vast fortune and an enviable A-list lifestyle.

Then the night got even better, as Mr Cox was invited to be one of the volunteers to join Copperfield on stage and take part in his act.
But from that moment followed a series of events that London-born Mr Cox claims have ‘wrecked’ his life and have placed him at legal loggerheads with Copperfield.
The extraordinary case has dragged on for almost three years and led to the magician’s techniques being revealed in unprecedented detail.
Mr Cox, 55, had been picked from the audience to take part in an illusion in which 13 fans ‘vanish’ from inside a suspended cage on stage – only to ‘miraculously’ reappear moments later at the back of the theatre.
But according to Mr Cox, a chef who once cooked for the Queen Mother, the stunt went horribly wrong after he slipped and fell in a poorly lit area, leaving him permanently brain-damaged.
It is his sensational court documents in a claim for millions of dollars against the magician and the hotel which shed light on the smoke and mirrors world of a modern-day Houdini.
The claim states: ‘During the trick plaintiff [Mr Cox] was injured when he was hurried with no guidance or interaction through a dark area under construction with cement dust and debris, causing him to slip and fall.’
In an exclusive interview with The Mail on Sunday last night, Mr Cox said: ‘Seeing David Copperfield was the highlight of a dream trip to celebrate my 53rd birthday. Instead it turned into a nightmare. My health has been wrecked, and I’ve lost my business and my life savings.’
Mr Cox and his wife are seeking punitive damages from Copperfield and MGM for alleged negligence. The magician and the hotel vehemently deny the claims, saying the injuries were caused by ‘pre-existing and/or unrelated medical conditions’.

David Copperfield and wife Chloe Gosselin attend event in New York
Today Mr Cox is forced to wear an oxygen ‘lung’ at night because he stops breathing, and he spent three months in a Californian brain trauma centre. The couple claim they have been forced to live in the US for nearly three years as the case drags on.
Their lifestyle could not be more different from Copperfield’s, whose talents have earned him a £550 million fortune, including palatial homes in Nevada and California, and a string of 11 private islands in the Bahamas known as Copperfield Bay.
The magician, born plain David Kotkin in New Jersey, was once engaged to supermodel Claudia Schiffer and is now dating French model and designer Chloe Gosselin.
Meanwhile, home for the Coxes is a rented apartment in a suburb of Las Vegas.
‘We are too broke to go out and Gavin’s injuries prevent us from enjoying a normal life,’ Mrs Cox said. ‘Gavin once cooked for royalty but now he can’t even bake a muffin because he has nerve damage in his hands and no sense of smell.’
Their nightmare began in November 2013 when Copperfield ‘chose’ Gavin to take part in the trick – called 13 – by hurling giant inflatable balls into the audience. Those who caught them were invited to the stage. ‘I was in seventh heaven when I caught a ball,’ Mr Cox said.
It was total pandemonium. You don’t know where you are going. It’s dark. There are hands pushing you on your back. As I went around a corner, my feet slipped from underneath me and I hit the ground
Gavin Cox
As he walked to the stage, the 6ft 4in chef said he was asked three questions by a Copperfield employee: Could he run? Was he a magician? Was he a member of the Press?
Once on stage, he and 12 others were seated in a suspended cage and given torches to hold. He recalled: ‘A curtain comes down over the box and torch light shines out to give the impression we are still in there.’
But in reality ‘all hell broke lose’ once the curtain came down, according to Mr Cox. He said Copperfield’s assistants hurried him down a secret passage, through a door and outside into the open air. He said: ‘It was like a fire alarm went off. They were saying “Hurry! Run, run, run!”
‘It was total pandemonium. You don’t know where you are going. It’s dark. There are hands pushing you on your back. As I went around a corner, my feet slipped from underneath me and I hit the ground.’ Mr Cox fell as he ran around the side of the theatre. His lawsuit claims Copperfield ‘failed to prevent, inspect, maintain and warn of dangerous conditions’ and claimed the magician and the hotel failed to ‘devise a trick that would be safe for audience participants’.
Copperfield’s lawyers deny this, saying ‘multiple inspections’ were made of the area.
Mr Cox blacked out after his fall but remembers the audience cheering at the end of the trick.
Afterwards Copperfield came to a side room to talk to the 13 and said he trusted they would not to reveal its secrets.
Mr Cox claims the magician was told, ‘This guy is injured. He needs an ambulance’, and that he told Copperfield he finished the trick despite the injuries as ‘I didn’t want to let you down’.
However, documents filed in Copperfield’s defence insist Mr Cox asked for help only after the magician left the room.
An ambulance took Mr Cox to hospital where his right shoulder was found to be dislocated.
Two days later he filled out an accident report at MGM and hired a US personal injury lawyer.
His wife said: ‘We stayed in the US for three weeks because Gavin’s injuries meant he couldn’t fly.’ Once back in Britain, Mr Cox said he began to suffer chronic pain, headaches and confusion. A scan would later show lesions on his brain.
But Mrs Cox said NHS waiting lists were ‘too long and he needed immediate treatment’.
So the couple returned to Vegas in February 2014. Their travel insurer refused to pay for ongoing treatment, but they were seen under a ‘medical lien’ – doctors agreed to treat Mr Cox and receive payment only when the lawsuit is settled.
Mr Cox’s career had once included years as a chef at London’s Buck’s Club, where he cooked for the Queen Mother, Margaret Thatcher and Dracula actor Christopher Lee, and running a guesthouse in Broadstairs, Kent.
But he has been unable to work since the accident.
Having had multiple operations on his back and neck, he has been diagnosed with permanent brain damage and a form of Parkinson’s.
His wife said: ‘The force of the fall shook up his brain. His shoulder took the brunt. A doctor said if he’d hit his head his neck would have snapped and he’d be dead.’
Their 11-year-old son Harry has remained in the UK, cared for by the couple’s oldest son Oliver, 25. The Coxes were forced to sell their guesthouse for £515,000 at the end of 2014 and having been living off their savings.
A recent date for mediation was pushed back after the magician’s lawyers said they needed to travel to the UK to question Mr Cox’s sons and British doctors under oath.
Copperfield’s legal team claim Mr Cox could have received the care he needed in the UK, saying: ‘The claim that they were forced to seek treatment in Las Vegas and are now trapped here is not true.’
A trial date for the case has been set for January 2017.
Last night Copperfield’s lawyers said: ‘This illusion has been performed for more than 15 years and with more than 100,000 participants. The history of the show speaks for itself. We deny all allegations. Unfortunately we cannot comment further due to ongoing litigation.’

David Copperfield performs a trick involving inflatable balls to the crowd but few realise the audience participants have to run through a darkened secret passage and it was here where Mr Cox fell
Gavin Cox and wife Minh at their lawyer’s office in Las Vegas. Gavin fell and injured himself seriously at the MGM Grand after volunteering in a David Copperfield show
David Copperfield with his wife, designer Chloe Gosselin at an event in New York. Copperfield is one of the biggest names in magic
Gavin Cox in hospital after his fall. Gavin fell and injured himself seriously at the MGM Grand after volunteering in a David Copperfield show

For more on this story go to: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3625583/Abracadebacle-wondered-David-Copperfield-does-Stooge-claims-left-brain-damaged-bungled-vanishing-trick-reveals-magician-s-secret-techniques-sensational-three-year-legal-battle.html#

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