The former Mayor of Belfast was red-faced with embarrassment after he failed to make a clean leap over a woman dressed as a tomato.

Photographers had egged Jim Rodgers to jump over Lorraine Mallon, a Belfast City Council employee, who was wearing a tomato costume at the time.

The publicity stunt went spectacularly wrong when Rodgers lost his footing and accidentally kicked Mallon in the head in a misadventure that ended up costing the council $50,000.

Mallon, who was dressed as a large red fruit to promote a gourmet food fair in the city, suffered a slipped disc in the ill-fated leap.

Shocked by the unexpected injury, Mallon brought a negligence case against the Belfast council and a settlement was reached in the Belfast High Court this week.

Mallon was paid $50,000, with the council also agreeing to cover the cost of the action.

Rodgers told the press this week that it would not be appropriate for him to comment on the outcome of the case. However in September 2007, when the event occurred, the former mayor was mortified at the slip-up.

"I have been absolutely devastated over what has happened," he said. "There had been three false runs and I think Lorraine thought this was just another one. I just caught the top of her head and unfortunately I injured her."