As Gwyneth Paltrow left court at the end of her ski collision trial, she leaned over to the man who had sued her and gently put her hand on his shoulder.

The Goop founder whispered: “I wish you well” in the ear of Terry Sanderson, who responded: “Thank you, dear.”

It was a startling moment of compassion from the Iron Man star towards the person who has spent seven years pursuing her over the 2016 accident at a ski resort in Utah.

By then the jury had found what Ms Paltrow had known all along: Mr Sanderson was “100 per cent” to blame for the collision, which he claimed left him with a brain injury that ruined his life.

It was an anticlimactic end to a trial that began as a tragicomic spectacle but, as it entered its second week, became sad and inevitable.

Mr Sanderson had initially sought $3.1m (£2.5m) from Ms Paltrow for allegedly “bolting” after smashing into his back but that was reduced to $300,000 (£242,000) by a judge.

The jury disagreed and found entirely for Ms Paltrow, awarding her the token $1 she asked for in damages, plus legal fees which are likely to be hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Ms Paltrow’s testimony sparked headlines thanks to the cringeworthy and bizarre cross examination by one of Mr Sanderson’s lawyers. But the case fell apart for the retired optometrist on Monday when Ms Paltrow began to present her evidence, including her star witness, Eric Christiansen, the ski instructor who was teaching her son Moses Martin that day.

Mr Christiansen was about as unimpeachable a witness as you can get: he had worked at the Deer Valley Ski Resort for 44 years and made pottery in his spare time.

He told the court that he saw Mr Sanderson uphill from Ms Paltrow moments before the crash, meaning he had a duty to look out for anyone below him. Seconds later he heard a scream, looked over and saw Ms Paltrow and Mr Sanderson lying together.

A computer animation created by Ms Paltrow’s lawyers based on Mr Christiansen’s testimony showed that Mr Sanderson had gone from one side of the slope towards the other side, where the actress was skiing.

Then came the damning closing arguments from Ms Paltrow’s lawyer, Stephen Owens, who told the jury that Mr Sanderson was essentially blind in his right eye, the side Ms Paltrow was on when he hit her.

The jury was shown dozens of photos of Mr Sanderson smiling in places like Thailand, Morocco and the Canary Islands in trips taken after the accident, despite claiming to be a “recluse” who spent 90 per cent of his time at home.

There was little doubt that Mr Sanderson’s life had changed for the worse after the accident and the litany of medical problems the 76-year-old suffered were read out to the court. His daughter Shae Herath gave a tearful anecdote of him shouting at her 11-year-old daughter for no reason.

But it became increasingly difficult to believe that it was all caused by the Oscar-winning Shakespeare In Love actor – who looked calm and poised throughout the trial – as he claimed.

The conclusion of the case was complicated and uncomfortable.

Mr Sanderson had the right to sue Ms Paltrow if he felt she had wronged him, and she was right to defend herself, yet his actions seemed clouded by his profound physical and mental challenges.

Samantha Imrie, who was Juror 11 on the panel, told ABC News that she thought Mr Sanderson was “telling his truth” but that it had become “distorted”.

She added, sympathetically: “I think he did not intend to tell a truth that wasn’t his truth.”

By admin